I hope he always loves and adores his sister...and one day will be her protector!
Though I only have two daughters and only one son, I want to be purposeful in understanding the way his mind works and the differences between boys and girls. I was never a boy, so I need help with this-obviously! Of course, my husband can help, but I recently read the book Raising Real Men to help a bit, too.
Authors Hal and Melanie Young are the parents to six boys and two girls, so they do know a bit about raising boys. Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys focuses on bringing up sons to be godly men despite the culture around us and even some of our own limitations and expectations. The Youngs do not focus on just one age; instead they talk about boys as toddlers to young men. Raising Real Men is an easy to read book, and the Youngs write in a comfortable style.
The book discusses what God's word says about many things that we, as parents, really do have questions about. It helps prepare us for what is to come-for those of us who still have young boys-and still gives us plenty to think about in the present, as well.
Some topics discussed are responsibility, leadership, competition, money, manners, chores, sexual temptation, and college. I liked the variety in topics and thought the Youngs found ways to share from their personal experience and the Bible in a personal way. I found that MUCH of what they were saying would benefit our sons would absolutely benefit our daughters, too, to be a child, teen, or adult who intentionally serves and honors God.
Early in the book, manly virtues are discussed. I was told before I married my husband that some of his characteristics that I respect and admire the most would likely be the ones to drive me crazy one day. (Umm...yes, that is often true.) In the same way, some of the characteristics in boys that might drive us crazy like competitiveness, aggression, and a need for adventure grow into admirable virtues in men of persistence and courage. The pursuit of adventure is not to be risky or foolish though. Like any one of us, we can use our lives (and skills) in vain, or we can use our lives to further God's good and make Him known.
Like with any parenting book, the reader isn't likely to agree with all that is written. I understand and know that children, and especially boys are often hyperactive. (In my experience my oldest daughter has always been a thrill-seeker and has the need to get outside to get her energy out. But that is beside the point.) As a former elementary school teacher, I understand that our typical school system is not ideal for most boys. However, I was rather appalled at a statement within the chapter "Your Own School for Boys."
"We're convinced if our sons were in school [not homeschooled],they'd be on so many pills they'd rattle when they walked."
Yes, ADHD may be over-diagnosed and over-medicated (verses trying environmental helps first), but that does not mean it does not exist. The statement above seems to blame schools and teachers for the children's diagnoses. From my own experience it is parents who seek treatment, though at times at the suggestion of a teacher. It is up to the parent to find a treatment plan with which they are comfortable. If a parent doesn't want an official diagnosis or any treatment it is up to them! However, a teacher has the responsibility (in the interest of the student) to point out a child's outward behavior that may (or may not) be related to near-sightedness. It's still up to the parent to seek out medical advice either way!
I really appreciated the chapter about children "bearing arms." You know...playing with guns. (It made me think of Dobson's book Bringing Up Girls that made me begin telling my daughter she is beautiful, while focusing on the heart. Linked to my review.) At Halloween this year we never even asked our son who just turned 3 what he wanted his costume to be. We figured we would use our available props/costumes to be a firefighter, football player, or baseball player. It never dawned on us he would have an opinion, but he really wanted to be a knight. As it turns out, he will get the Armor of God costume for Christmas, so next year he can be a knight. I'm not sure he was thinking of protecting his family, but maybe! This year he was content to be a baseball player. Phew. If our son desires to be in a profession where he needs to carry a gun, I don't want him to feel like he would be dishonoring his parents because we said all guns are bad. (I also want to mention that they did note that not all Christian denominations agree with bearing arms.)
Hal and Melanie Young homeschool their children. I am pretty sure that at least a quarter or a third of the book is related to homeschooling in one way or another. By drawing on others' experience (since it is not in their own) could really make this book friendlier to a broader audience.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I have Bringing Up Boys. I suspect it is a research and life based book without the homeschool slant. However, I think Raising Real Men was still beneficial read. If you are a homeschool family with a son, I would definitely recommend it.
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Raising Real Men in exchange for a frank and unbiased review. You might be interested in their parenting helps or their free homeschool catalog that is for anyone!