For several years, I taught in an all-boys elementary school. As a young college graduate I spent many hours each day training, instructing, and equipping eight to nine-year-old young men.
I remember one of the first lessons I learned about boys—they respond very well to sincere praise and compliments. When I offered a good word to one of my young students, I watched his shoulders visibly lift. There might be no other reaction, but the “shoulder lift” happened every time with every boy that I praised. Boys need to have their “shoulders lifted” daily.
Here are 5 powerful phrases our boys need to hear:
1) “You are LOVED!”
We love you, period!
We love you as a person, as an individual, and as God’s perfect creation.
And, by the way, your heavenly Father loves you too!
In fact, in Romans 8:38-39, He promises that NOTHING can change His love for us or separate us from His love:
“None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (MSG)
Our boys need to hear often that they are loved and accepted unconditionally, much like the way our God loves us.
2) “You are GOOD at _________.”
(Fill in the blank with at least one thing that your boy does well).
Boys need to be encouraged in their skills and abilities; they need to be verbally told that they are good at at least one thing. Feeling “significant” is huge for our boys.
For example, my son is a computer whiz. Since he was 18-months-old he has loved to play on, tinker with and use computers. We complimented his skills from the very first time that we noticed those skills. And, for most of his life, we have encouraged him in the direction of computers with our words, our time and our money. In about a year, he will complete his college degree in the field of Computer Science and go on to create “code” and “programs” of some type with some company.
What about your boy? What is he good at?
- Maybe he is good at sports.
- Maybe he loves to cook.
- Maybe he is great with people.
- Or, maybe there is some other skill that your boy has.
Whatever his skills and interests may be, I encourage you to tell him how good he is at these things.
3) “God has a GREAT PLAN for your life!”
Our boys need to know that Almighty God created them as an original—a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. They also need to hear how this same God has an amazing plan for their lives. This is a great time to share Bible verses of hope with our boys. Here is one:
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Remind them over and over, “God has a very special and amazing plan for your life.”
4) “Life will have many CHALLENGES!”
We need to teach our boys that life will not be without its hard days, bad days and difficult moments. We do not need to remove every obstacle from their lives or rescue them from everything hard. Our boys need to understand what it is to work hard, face troubles and deal with adversity. Of course, we can support them, encourage them and pray for them; but we must let them FACE real life. As moms especially, we must not coddle them and hover over them like giant helicopters. We must let our boys be boys so that they can become men—strong men.
Remind your boys often that life has some great challenges.
5) “You were made to be STRONG, to LEAD and to WORK HARD!”
Explain the way that God set up roles for men and women and how things are to be established in the home. You can use Genesis 3 and the story of Adam and Eve to explain these things to your boys. Explain to them that God made them strong for a reason. They are to lead their homes and families well and to work hard. Teach them the importance of hard work. Some people may think that this is instinctive for young men, but I’m seeing a rather disturbing shift take place in this current generation of young adults.
My husband and I live in a place where we are surrounded by many young couples. In many of these homes, the young women are going out and serving as breadwinners while the men stay at home and “play” or work just a little. Many of the men are becoming the primary caretakers of the kids while these wives work all of the time. I am not against women working. I applaud these young girls and their willingness to give 100 percent for their families. Women are just as gifted and capable and have wonderful talents to share.
However, I am deeply concerned about a generation of very lazy, X-Box playing, carefree young men who are not taking up the mantle and providing for their families. God specially crafted our young men to go out, work hard, and bring home provision. They are “designed” to do this.
Teach your boys to be strong leaders, to be good providers, and to take care of their own families.
I encourage you today to open your mouth and start speaking these five powerful phrases into your boy’s life today. Just start with one of them. Then, watch for the “shoulder lifting.” It might be slight at first, but I think you will see it.
*Please leave your comments below!