By Contributing Writer, Jeannette Paulson (No – it’s actually by her daughter!)
Well, ladies, you are in for a treat today because I asked our daughter Ruthie to write a book review for you and she agreed. It is more fun than mine would have been, and I had time to do some projects around the house. Win-Win.
“Boys are future men. Young men are future men. This means they are future husbands and future warriors. When they arrive at that point, the responsibilities they encounter must not come as a surprise to them.” -Doug Wilson
Who Are You And Why Are You Telling Me This?
What is a 21-year-old single gal doing reviewing a book about raising sons, you ask? Good question! If you pinned me to the wall, I would admit that my mom asked me to. As I read though, I saw how important it actually is for every mother, sister, and friend to understand and encourage the men in their lives. Even the short ones who buzz like planes as they run through the house.
Doug Wilson writes concisely, clearly and wittily, balancing a view of the big picture and the gritty specifics. Hopefully these tidbits I share will jump start your understanding and pique your interest to study this more. Then, if you ever see the book at a friend’s house, you can snatch it up and beg to borrow it.
Fear vs. Faith
There is a huge difference between seeing the boys in our life with eyes of fear and hearts of faith. Understanding that “sin is parasitic and cannot function without some good attributes that it seeks to corrupt,” helps us look for the good attributes that we can encourage. For example, my brother might be determined to be proved right in an argument. Fear says, “This boy is out of control and full of pride. There’s nothing I can do!” Faith says, “God loves a man who fights for the truth and can lead the way. I want to encourage him in that direction.”
Meek vs. Weak
A young man needs to study truth earnestly until it’s woven into the fabric of his soul. Doug proves the importance of knowledge of God for future men, “The Bible teaches that God controls everything and nothing will build a young man’s spine more thoroughly than this doctrine, along with the ramifications of it.”
Studying Jesus will also teach our brothers and sons the difference between meekness and weakness. According to Princeton.edu, meekness is “the feeling of patient, submissive humbleness.” Jesus was the ultimate teachable man, always submissive to God, refusing to be provoked. He even said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness is not some namby-pamby bowed-head giving up to which men are condemned. Doug says, “The Christian faith is a religion of world conquest.”
Man vs. Self
There’s no such thing as secret sin. It is imperative that future men are not defeated in the first line of battle, their personal sin. Douglas gives some helpful thoughts on accountability, particularly that accountability for sexual sin should be more than just peer review and sharing, but it should be with someone who has fought and conquered; preferably someone older.
He also points out how an open sin like laziness must be addressed, or a future man is set up for life of frustration. Hard labor brings joy, satisfaction, self-respect, and glory to God. Who wants to exclude the man in their lives from that?
I Love You Too, Mom?
I liked how he dealt with mom/son relationships. He said moms need to be tough, requiring sons to carry out their duties and finish their schoolwork. Mothers must not give out an excuse-making sympathy but respect their sons enough to let them struggle through their duties.
So now that I’ve told you everything, buy the book and read it! Learn how to see the boys in your life with eyes of faith. Encourage them to fight sin and love and live the truth.
Because sooner than you think, those boys will be men.