Teaching Our Boys - Part 1
Teaching Our Boys
There are times that we need to take the time and focus upon the truths that our boys need to hear as they are growing up. Solomon specifically gave some teachings directed right at his son (Proverbs 1:8-19; 2:1-22; 3:1-35). Even in the New Testament some verses direct attention solely upon a particular age group or gender, giving them what they need to hear at a definite time in their life (Titus 2:1-8 "Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach"). This lesson will attempt to list some very practical lessons which our boys need to hear.
The Value of Life
"A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the compassion of the wicked is cruel" (Proverbs 12:10). "The righteous man understands the needs of his livestock, but even the mercy of the wicked is cruel" (Ber); "The righteous cares for the life of his beast" (ABPS). There are various laws in the Old Testament, which links godliness to the way a person treats even animal life (Deuteronomy 25:4; 22:10). We need to teach our boys that hunting is certainly all right (Genesis 9:3), whether for food or because an animal is threatening our livestock or crops, or is spreading disease. But killing for the sheer fun of it, killing something just to kill it or watch it suffer is an attitude which God finds offensive. The concept God introduced that an animal is to be properly bleed before being eaten(Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:13-14), seems to remind us that this life was taken so that we might continue to live. Our lives are so valuable to God that He has allowed us to take the lives of other living things that we might continue to live. Hence any tendency to torture bugs or animals need to be nipped in the bud.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is…kindness" (Galatians 5:22); "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other" (Ephesians 4:32); "Put on a heart of compassion" (Colossians 3:12); "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7). Our society can easily take boys and make them into very callused men (Romans 1:30-31; 2 Timothy 3:1-4). Our boys will eventually grow into men and men will have a number of relationships in which others will depend upon their kindness, such as children, their wives, or their employees. We need to teach our boys that as they are dependent upon God’s mercy and kindness, others, will be dependent upon their kindness. If they abuse their power—God will judge them without mercy (James 2:13; Matthew 18:23-35)! Again, if they start getting a kick on seeing animals or people suffer, how are they ever going to dwell with a wife in an understanding way? (1 Peter 3:7)
Many of our boys will be drawn to watch violent video games, television shows, or movies. Yet, God doesn’t care for senseless violence(Genesis 6:11 "Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth will filled with violence", 13; "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates" (Psalm 11:5); "Therefore pride is their necklace; the garment of violence covers them" (73:6). We need to teach our boys that real problems are rarely solved by violence (Proverbs 16:29). In addition, when God has commanded His people to use deadly force, it was in executing His judgments upon unrepentant sinners (1 Samuel 15:1-3). There are times when the wicked have to be opposed with deadly force (Romans 13:4), but there isn’t anything glorious about having to kill a wicked person. Our boys need to remember that when a bad guy is shot and killed that such a bad guy is instantly suffering in an eternal hell after death (Luke 16:23-24; Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:10; Mark 9:43-44), which should sadden us, not entertain us.
"But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15); "it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20); "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:12). We need to make sure that our children are learning the right lessons from competitive sports: 1. Respect those in authority, that is, don’t boo the umpire. 2. Learn humility, everyone makes mistakes or errors, even the best hitters only hit safely a third of the time, and you will encounter another player or team which is better than you are. 3. Learning true godliness. It is easy to have the right attitude when we are winning, but God expects us to have the right attitude when things aren’t going so smoothly. 4. Helping others. It is easy to ridicule someone on your team who isn’t that skilled, but if you were that player, how would you like to be treated? (Matthew 7:12) 5. Here they can learn the big difference between temporary and eternal things. Life doesn’t end when you win the league championship or finish in first place. Life doesn’t end after you make the winning touchdown, hit the game winning home run, or score the final goal. They have a whole life to live after the games are over, they have a whole eternity to face after they can no longer play at a competitive level. What then?
Putting God First
"But seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). God does require every bit of our loyalty (Matthew 22:37). Our boys need to be taught that if they are going to serve God and be with Him in heaven, then they must be willing themselves to place God before their favorite sport, recreational activity, television show, hobby, secular homework, or even their own comfort. There isn’t any use in trying to avoid this, because life isn’t going to get any easier for them. We need to instill in them the priorities of God and people, for the happiness of their future, including their marriage and family, will depend upon their ability to keep God first and others second.
It is fitting that the book of Proverbs starts out as being a father’s preaching to his son, for so much of the book warns about the pitfalls of being arrogant (Proverbs 8:13; 11:2; 16:18; 29:23). Our boys also need to learn that being "good" at something never gives us the right to place such an endeavor before God and His kingdom. At times parents can pamper especially a son who is very talented at something which secular culture values. Even Christian parents can be tempted to place the athletic skill of their son as a higher priority than serving God. Our talented boys need to be brought back down to earth and reminded of the qualities which God values (Micah 6:8). God has never been impressed with people who are in love with themselves and view others with contempt (Luke 18:9; James 4:6).
Our society claims to be more gender equal or gender neutral than societies in the past, in fact, many would probably claim that degrading women or treating them as second-class citizens is no longer tolerated in this country. Yet, our culture and especially the media and Hollywood continue to present women as nothing more than the objects of a man’s lust. Even a casual observance of the leading women characters in movies, television shows, or the female models in retail ads and commercials will reveal that not very many women are being appreciated for their brains.
- Honoring women means realizing the priceless value of what mom has done for you. It is interesting that instead of telling young widows to go out and spend their time evangelizing the world, God told them to get married, bear children, and keep house (1 Timothy 5:14). Having children, then staying home with them and raising them in a godly manner is a very important thing to God(Titus 2:5).
- Our boys, especially the ones who go off the college will face a number of worldly attitudes towards women, even in so-called enlightened centers of learning. They will encounter people who feel that a woman is wasting her life and talents if she decides to stay at home with the children and forgo a secular career. They will also hear that getting ahead means working long hours and family must always take a back seat to your career plans. They will hear that your wife will complain about this arrangement, but one of the things that any wife will do is whine and complain a lot and that is just one of the drawbacks of being married. Of course, they will also hear all the latest fads on raising children, which means that spanking is something horrible.
- Honoring women means being willing to change our thinking, being willing to view them as beings created in the image of God and having an eternal soul. Note, Jesus condemns lusting after a woman (Matthew 5:28), and He does because such is so selfish, self-serving, and absolutely contrary to the second commandment (Matthew 22:39). Our boys need to be taught to view women in the proper manner, for how would they like someone lusting after their mother, wife, sister, or daughter?
- If you honor the woman to whom you are married, you communicate with her, are sensitive to her needs and concerns, listen to her advice, value her imput, and you are always concerned about what is in her best eternal interest (1 Peter 3:7). Honoring a women means that you don’t expect her to act or react like a man would. Men who honor their wives take the time to discover how she thinks, what she wants, her needs, desires, and concerns. Then such a man does his best to meet those needs.
The studies that I have seen recently claim that most Americans lie frequently and for no "good" reason, that is, they aren’t lying in some life and death situation, but just over the most unimportant of things. Our young boys need to be taught that when they make a commitment, God expects them to honor it (Ecclesiastes 5:4). This means that when they quit a job, God expects them to give proper notice. If they make a specific time commitment to a particular company, school, or program, God expects them to honor that commitment. When they marry, God expects them to honor that commitment as well. All of our sons are going into some type of career and business and God expects our young men to tell the truth, and be honest and fair in their dealing with others. God condemns people who are deceitful (Acts 5:1-5; Revelation 21:8). In addition, they need to be taught to give a definite yes or no answer (Matthew 5:37).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church Of Christ/(503)644-9017