On Your Relationship With Your Son (Letter 12)

Dear Y.B.M.:

African father helping son with homeworkIn this letter, I would like to say some things to you regarding your son or son to be. The greatest gift that you will ever receive in this life will be the gift of children. Even though you will love all of your children just the same, your daughters will hold a very special place in your heart, and although in a different way, your son or sons will hold a very special place in your heart as well.

Do not take having a son lightly. This is a very special gift from God. Here are some of the benefits of having a son: (a) He will carry on your name; (b) He will carry on the, hopefully, positive things that you instill in him; (c) He will more than likely carry on your resemblance so that when people see him, they see you; (d) He will teach others what you have taught him.

Here are some suggestions as to what you ought to do with your son:

1. Pray with him and for him daily. I am happy to say that, by the grace of God, there has not been a day that my sons have not seen me pray.

2. Spend lots of time alone with him. As you know, there is this running controversy, as to whether or not parents should spend quality time or quantity time with their children. In my opinion, you really cannot spend quality time without quantity time. Therefore, I have chosen to live a lifestyle that allows me to be there for my children. You can’t just fit your children into your schedule. Your children are your life. Sometimes your children just need to see you there in the house.

3. Talk with him. Really talk with him. Get into your son’s head, and let him get into yours. What I have found helpful, when I am with my sons, is to talk about something that is interesting to both of us.

4. Teach him biblical principles, and give him wise counsel regarding life. The best thing I have ever done with my sons, and all of my children, for that matter, is to read the Bible all the way through with them, and teach them the principles therein. I strongly encourage you to do the same. Basically, all you have to do is read three chapters a day. Try it. It will change your life and his life as well. But, don’t just read the Scriptures — do the Scriptures. Obey the Scriptures yourself and be a great example to your sons. The Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

5. Ensure that he gets the best education possible. My wife and I felt the best way to raise our children was to homeschool them. We have homeschooled all seven of our children since birth. You may have chosen another route, but whatever you do, give your son and daughter the best possible education that you can. This will bode well for them and for you throughout their lifetime.

6. Play with him. While growing up, I played quarterback on one of my high school football teams. When my sons and I go exercising, we always take a football. They play as my receivers. We have a lot of fun together. I share with my sons this life principle: work hard and then play hard.

7. Be genuinely interested in what he does and what he is interested in. Help him develop his gifts. Find out what your son is good at and encourage him to become the best he can be.

8. Praise him for his good accomplishments, and encourage him where he may be failing. All of us know the value and power of praise. I use it lavishly on my sons when they do well. But I also rebuke them and chastise them when I know they are not doing their best.

9. Chastise him swiftly and firmly. Teach him one of the most important lessons of life, and that is, the lesson of obedience. I cannot emphasize this enough: love your sons, so much so, that you will chastise them when they are disobedient. The Bible says to: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

10. Teach him good manners and respect. There is nothing wrong with your sons saying “yes sir” and “no sir” to you and to others who are much older than they are.

11. When he is old enough, give him this book.

12. Teach him how to be a loving, but strong leader, as a man. We have too many men today, who are soft when they need to be firm, and too many men who are firm when they need to be gentle. Teach him how to balance the two.

13. Love him and tell him so often. It won’t take away from his manliness. Don’t hesitate to let your sons know you love them, and don’t hesitate to tell them how much you love them.

Spend quality and quantity time with your son and/or sons and it will pay invaluable dividends for you, him, your family, and for society as well.

Raising a great son for the glory of God,

Daniel

P.T.: Power Thoughts

Dexter Scott King said, “My father said, ‘Politics asks the question: Is it expedient? Vanity asks: Is it popular? But conscience asks: Is it right?’”

Douglas Macarthur said, “By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder – infinitely prouder – to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle field but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven.’

Russell Hoban said, “If the past cannot teach the present and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time.

Jean Paul Richter said, “What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard by posterity.”

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