This one is for all of the parents of young boys out there. Yes, you — the ones who are in the trenches, raising your boys. You teach them, train them, correct them, and coach them. You have sleep trained, potty trained, disciplined, praised, prayed for, and patiently poured into these boys.
Day after livelong day.
Now, as a little gift, I would like to cast a vision…paint a little picture for you:
Imagine a day that your son is a bit older. He sets his own alarm, and gets up early. He goes for a run, then spends time in prayer and reading the Bible. And while he’s doing that, he times himself. You know why he times himself? Because later, after his school work is done and his chores are completed, and he’s asked, “Can I help you with anything else, Mom?” and he finally has a little time to play on a device — he will only spend as much time on that device as he has spent with the Lord that day. And you know why? Not because Mom or Dad thought of that, but because it seemed like a wise thing to do. As in, he came up with it on his own.
This son is kind, respectful, and self-disciplined in just about every way. No, he isn’t perfect. But he is heading in a really positive direction, and, contrary to popular beliefs about teenage boys, you really ENJOY having this kid around. And he’s just sixteen.
I can cast that vision for you, my friends, because that is what is beginning to happen in my house right now. My oldest son has moved from a young boy who we parented with intention (and disciplined a lot) to a sixteen-year-old who is an absolute blessing.
Of course, there are a variety of factors involved in this scenario: He is the first-born, fitting the perfectionist, self-disciplined stereotype well. It’s also part of his general personality type. (Thank you, God.) I certainly can’t take credit for everything, and (trust me) I’m pretty sure that none of the other three brothers will be exactly like the first.
But part of this scene I just painted for you—a good part of the character of that sixteen-year-old that lives in my home—is related to the hard work of parenting with a vision.
When my son was just a baby, I observed a lot of families, and I got to know some families whose older kids impressed me. I began to ask questions and model after those families. My husband and I have never been perfect parents, but we have parented with a vision for the future.
We have aimed to discipline using consequences that naturally fit the offense. Then, as our boys grow up, we teach them what it means to internalize their discipline. We teach them what it means to “discipline yourself,” because ultimately, that is the goal of our parental discipline.
As they get older, we give our boys increased freedom to make their own choices. And live with the consequences. And we stand back a bit and cheer for them from a distance as they succeed. Or fail.
We spend years coaching and counseling…
…and then we let go.
I cast this vision to encourage you, dear parents. Train your boys today with a vision for the men they will be down the road…as teenagers, as adults, as husbands and fathers. Try to keep perspective in your day-to-day parenting. And be encouraged!
Verses to Keep in Mind
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9