Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Are We Preparing Boys and Young Men to Be Husbands and Fathers?

Here's one way Baucham describes the problem:

Imagine a family who did not prepare their children for college. This would be unthinkable in today’s world. Everyone prepares their child for an academic future. Day-care programs boast about the head start they will give children in their “academic careers.” We buy houses in neighborhoods with “the best schools.” Beyond that, many families place their children in expensive preparatory schools, enduring tremendous financial burdens, incurring debt, and commuting hours each day in an effort to give their children an edge in that all-important race for the apex of academia.

However, little thought is given to preparing our sons to be husbands. Thus, they meander through life without the skills or mind-set necessary to play this most important role until one day, having met “the one,” they pop the question, set a date, and—in the rarest of cases—go to the pastor to learn everything they need to know about being the priest, prophet, provider, and protector of a household in four one-hour sessions. In the words of that great theologian Dr. Phil, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

As a result, we have families led by men who haven’t the foggiest idea what their role is or how to carry it out. We have wives who were created with a God-given need to be led by godly men, a curse from the days in the garden that puts them at odds with this arrangement, and a cultural mandate to fight against male headship. Top this off with children who long for the security that can only be found in clear roles and boundaries in the home, and the result is a frustrated family mired in dysfunction. Sound familiar?

If we have any desire to change this, we must begin to prepare young men to be husbands and fathers. We must stop preparing them for lives of selfishness, immediate gratification, and perpetual adolescence if we ever expect to turn the tide. The skills required of a husband and father take a lifetime to acquire. Our sons must begin to acquire them sooner rather than later. If we prepare our children to be husbands and wives, and God calls and equips them to be single, we have lost nothing. On the other hand, if we do not prepare our children to be husbands and wives, and they (like the overwhelming majority of people) end up married someday, we have lost a great deal. Prudence would point toward the necessity to prepare our children for marriage, and to do so with all diligence. (pp. 42-44
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The question for today: What does it mean to prepare a son or a daughter for marriage? Is this really a fundamental duty of parents?

9 comments:

aragamuffinsreflections said...

My wife and I absolutely share this concern and I'm excited that Voddie has this book out now. I've got quite a reading list, but I'll get to this one sooner or later.

We've got 2 young boys (5 and nearly 1), but we certainly want to do our part to raise them to be Godly men, husbands, and fathers.

Nate Williams said...

I am getting married on May 30 and so, in Pre Marital Counseling we are being lead in thinking and planning and dreaming about our future together( my fiance and I). We have talked about kids and how we want to raise them. Yes, it is important to raise up men who are prepared for marriage. Men must lead their wives in a godly way and show that to their sons and then those same men must teach their sons with their words. Wives submit to the husband and be the helper and teach this to the daughters. Family's must read the Bible together and pray together.

FellowElder said...

Nate and Araggamuffin...,

Thanks for stopping by and starting the conversation on this important topic. I appreciate your hearts to lead godly families and raise boys to be men, husbands, and fathers.

A follow-up question: Would you say you had teaching of this sort growing up, or are you coming to grapple with these things now that you're marrying or raising boys yourself? What was your own experience like?

thanks again for commenting!

T-

KG said...

Thank you for highlighting this issue and Vodie's new book. This is a big deal for us in our church. We are teaching our young people to pursue marriage and trying to prepare them for that. This is counter the culture around us where many don't think of marraige. We also have a lot of youth who have grown up in single parent homes. This adds to their confusion.

To answer your questions, I don't remember for sure how much I was taught about being a husband and father, but it was at least modelled for me. Many youth don't even have the model, much less the instruction.

With my own children, I talk to them about how to treat women or how to be a lady. We ask them to take responsibilities in the home that will prepare them for taking responsibility in a marraige.

This is becoming more and more necessary for the church to focus on training for marriage and parenting because many are growing up without these things in their own experience.

S. Baker said...

"The question for today: What does it mean to prepare a son or a daughter for marriage? Is this really a fundamental duty of parents?"

Based on Deut. 6, I think it is absolutely parents' job to prepare their children for marriage. We are to so raise our children, "so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God." How can we have this vision, even for our grandchildren, if we don't prepare our children for marriage?

Arthur Sido said...

I not only read this book, I am having my wife read it once my 15 and 12 year old daughter read it, and then my 14 year son, and then the other five kids, and then my friends...

It is a voice we have needed to hear for a long time. We raise our kids with the same priorities, same expectations, same goals as the world with a little youth group thrown in and we wonder why they turn out like they do? If a parent has any job, after teaching our kids the Gospel, it is preparing them for marriage. Nothing else will have a greater impact for good or for ill in their lives.

Michael Boyd said...

I received this book last week, having looked forward to it and finished it in a few days. It was hard to put it down each time I was forced to. The teaching Voddie lays down in this book is so essential for the Christian family. It is more of a book on biblical manhood and what that means. As a young man married for almost two years and on the verge of beginning a family of my own, this book will be one I'll go back to over and over again out of my library of biblical manhood and womanhood books. I hope this book receives a wide reading in the church and leads to reformation in the way men lead their families. I know God used this book as a corrective to myself for not being the leader I need to be to my wife.

Justin W. said...

Thanks for the post and the book recommendation. I was having lunch with one of our church's elders a while back, and I was interviewing him about marriage and parenting. When talking about his role as father to two young sons, he said, "If my boys need pre-marital counseling, I have failed as a father." He wasn't stating that he had a problem with pre-marital counseling, but was bemoaning the mindset that a boy raised in a Christian home would need a last-minute crash course in the fundamentals of being a Godly husband and father. He views that as one of his fundamental responsibilities as a Christian father.

I think the church needs more men with this mentality. As a young, single man, I consider conversations like the aforementioned one to be priceless.

John said...

I'm so thankful that someone is writing this. I've often lamented the fact that I was not taught to be a gentleman, nor a man, nor a husband... It is true that so much time and money is spent preparing children for other roles, but the most important roles are neglected.

Thank God for His grace. Let us not neglect to prepare our children to be spouses and parents.