As a father, your role is to provide, protect, care for, and be in a loving relationship with your wife and kids. Doing all that requires a great deal of being a man. Many factors have developed your character. You may also have seen, known, or been involved with other men who did not live up to their roles. Before your boys become men, they need to be equipped for manhood. The world may teach your son so many things, so as a father, it is your role to teach them right so they would not end up as clueless and irresponsible men. Be a role model and a mentor for your son on being a man.
Here’s what to teach your sons for them to be ready in becoming a real man:
1. A principle to believe and live by
A man with no purpose and principle drifts away and goes where his emotions and thoughts would lead him. If your son has a set of core beliefs to live by, he becomes wiser and makes less mistakes. Develop an honor code, a principle, or a motto for your family. Let this be a foundational truth that will be helpful for your son as he grows up.
No character trait embodies healthy masculinity like that of honor. It’s a code that a man lives by that makes him different and makes him rise above mediocrity and mere survival. It enables and inspires him to lift the lives of others and be a helpful and productive member of society. It encourages him to push forward and do the right thing and reject involvement in self-gratifying yet destructive activities. Honor allows him to strive for greatness in life. And if you give your son a principle to live by, he will grow up to be an honorable man.
2. High standards
Boys usually live up (or down to) the expectations set upon them. He who aims for little will only accomplish little. Encourage your son to have big dreams. He will never be perfect, and he may not always reach for his goal, but if he has high standards and dreams, it will motivate him to do more and do better. Eventually, he will get closer to his dreams. Allow him to fail, as expecting perfection and too high of a standard can cause unnecessary pressure and stress for your child. Be an encourager when he fails, because failure can make a person stronger and more determined than ever if he has the right attitude and encouragement from loved ones.
3. Being a gentleman
Being a gentleman is still worth the effort. Teach him to hold the door for people, especially for a woman and the elderly. Make him carry a heavy bag for his mom or any female friend. Tell him to get the car when it’s raining, and offer to hold the umbrella for others.
This trait is essential when teaching your son how to deal with women. Eventually, he is going to date and have a girlfriend. Teach him to open the car door for her, offer to foot the bill in a date and offer his hand when she needs help. Teach him to respect a woman’s body and honor it by reserving it for her future husband. Let him know that women think and feel differently than men, and teach him to be respectful of the differences he may discover.
The best way to teach your son to be a gentleman is by being a role model. Be a gentleman to your wife or partner and make her feel special in front of your kids. Your son will pick that up without even you teaching him.
A real man treats everyone with respect. He must show strength but must be polite. Men who equate machismo with strength are typically men who are covering insecurity. He must be inclusive and not think of himself as the “higher species.” He must also learn how to respond graciously when his offer is refused, when his suggestion is not considered, when he didn’t win the game, or when he didn’t get the award. And most importantly, he must be able to honor and esteem you and his mother, as well as other authority figures in his life.
5. Compassion and love
True manhood knows that self-giving love is more powerful and stronger than brute force. Let him know at a young age that any disagreements, misunderstandings, or differences won’t be remedied by a physical fight. Point out examples of bullies and explain to your son the consequences for everyone involved in a scenario. Teach him that a real man is compassionate and knows how to appreciate others.
6. Integrity and honesty
One of the hardest things for a man to do is to admit his shortcomings and say “sorry” to someone he has done wrong. As young as he is, let your son know that you expect him to be honest at all times, even when he has made bad choices. Tell your son to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Teach him to stand up for what he knows is right, even though it can be hard. Model these behaviors yourself to make it easier to teach for your son.
As a father, do what is expected from you and do it right. A real man takes responsibility for his choices, actions, beliefs, and values. It’s also being able to admit when it’s wrong. When you don’t do something at the right time or the right way, man up and own it. Apologize immediately. Don’t be afraid to say “sorry son, I will make it up to you.” This way, you can make it a learning opportunity for your son to understand what being responsible is.
Teach him to honor his commitments and to avoid making promises he can’t keep. Help him recognize his duty and do it with excellence. Also, teach him to buy things only when needed, and try to buy only the stuff you can afford. Credit card debt is not just a shopaholic woman’s problem, but also for impulsive men, too.
8. Chivalry and manners
Chivalry is dead, they say. Most young men today are not wired to serve the needs of others – they use their power for their self-gratification. Most of them are also not required to be honorable, noble and respectable in any area of life. But you can shape your son to be the chivalrous man the world needs. If you want your son to marry an honorable woman and have a successful marriage and a successful life, teaching him the art of chivalry will be advantageous to him.
One of the best ways to teach chivalry to young boys is to teach them good manners, right conduct, and proper etiquette as boys. Teaching your son manners will earn him respect and regard from his peers. Manners teach a person to give regard to others, making him aware that he needs to be observant of other people’s needs, too. So many young people today are so focused on self that any young man who puts the needs of others before his own easily stands out like hope for humanity. Teaching him to practice good manners and show chivalry leads to an honorable life, wherein doors would be opened for him that most others will not encounter.
Real men are courageous. It’s not just about being able to walk in the dark, to face the dentist, to climb a mountain, or to kill a bug. Courage is deeper than that. It’s about knowing that they need to continue to do what is right even when subjected to peer pressure and the urge to compromise. It’s about standing by his convictions even in the face of criticism.
Your son will grow up and someday, he will be a leader of his own family. As a father, you know that you need to face tough decisions every day. Help him lead with courage and conviction.
10. Perseverance and hard work
As young as they are, your sons need to see the value of working. Work is necessary for a productive and disciplined life. It’s not something to dread about, but something to push through and do excellently. Teach them that you don’t get most things for free, and mom and dad will not always be there to provide. When they reach adolescence, you can help your son get summer jobs, so they can have money of their own to buy their wants, instead of asking money from you. Teach them that they need to work hard to achieve greatness in school and the workplace.
To achieve true greatness, a man needs to know how to persevere, even in the face of trials and adversity. Young boys must learn how to persevere in the face of hardships now so that they can be able to succeed later during the tougher seasons of his life. And when your son is experiencing troubled times, you have to resist the urge to be on the rescue. They have to learn how to stand on their own and face their own struggles. You only need to be a positive influence and a voice of encouragement to your son.
11. Self-discipline and self-control
Self-discipline and self-control are two crucial traits real men must have. They are different, but interwoven, as the lack of one or both can destroy more lives than any other character deficit. Self-discipline is doing something you don’t want but should, meanwhile self-control is not doing something you want but shouldn’t. The absence of either of these traits leads men to addictions like pornography, greed, adultery, gambling, drugs, and alcoholism – all of which destroy families and souls.
Self-discipline and self-control are inner strengths that are honorable in a man, and it develops over time. It is best cultivated at a young age. To help your son develop these important traits, hold them accountable for their actions.
Culture says that men see what they want, and they go out and get it. This is an improper view of manhood. True and honorable men see what the world needs, then they go out and do it or become it. They are more about giving than getting. A man has an innate desire to lead, but to be a good leader, you need to have a servant’s heart.