50 Things I’m Glad I Did Raising Boys

Sep 18, 2016 | Parenting

My oldest son is leaving for his senior year in college and Boy #2 is starting his first year at the university.  It’s challenge raising a man in today’s culture. The standards of his world are different than they were for his dad and granddads.  But certain principles are timeless no matter when you live. I wonder if I’ve mom and soninstilled essential principles to be a future leader, worker, husband, father, and community citizen.  Thinking through his upbringing, here is a non-exhaustive list of things I’m glad we did in raising boys.

  1. Allowed him to play with toys no matter how old he was.
  2. Expected him to play with and connect with his sister.
  3. Had him work alongside his dad no matter the task.
  4. Had him work alongside me no matter the task.
  5. Told him he shouldn’t date a girl he wouldn’t consider marrying.
  6. Expected him to put away clothes, unload the dishwasher, pick up after himself, and sweep his room when asked.
  7. Gave him equal chores along with his sister and vice versa.
  8. Took him to museums, tractor-pulls, nature walks and baseball games.
  9. Taught him to open the door for ladies both young and old.
  10. Let him play the sports he wanted to and allowed him to stop activities he decided he didn’t want to play.
  11. Was intentional about him spending time with his dad beginning at age thirteen.
  12. Talked with him about alcohol and our choices regarding it.
  13. Talked with him about sexual images in movies and photographs.
  14. Changed TV channels when inappropriate images were present in movies or TV shows.
  15. Read the lyrics to the songs he downloaded and listened to.
  16. Taught him why you leave a tip in a restaurant and how much is appropriate.
  17. Told him that listening to music with degrading lyrics about women was not an option.
  18. Went to his ballgames and music programs.
  19. Held my tongue when the coach grabbed his jersey and swore at him during a ballgame.
  20. Encouraged him after the game when the coach grabbed the jersey and swore at him.
  21. Allowed him to work things out with his sister and brothers when they fought.
  22. Listened to him when he told me to back-off.
  23. Apologized to him when I was too harsh or jumped to conclusions.
  24. Learned his way to do things was okay as long as he got the work done.
  25. Corrected him when he spoke disrespectfully to his dad.
  26. Corrected him when he spoke disrespectfully to me or his sister.
  27. Gave him opportunities to lead in the family.
  28. Gave him opportunities to serve others in the community and church.
  29. Had him spend time with his grandparents.
  30. Allowed him to have his first paid job at thirteen even though it required picking up trash at a weekly local flea market.
  31. Affirmed him when he made good decisions.
  32. Refrained from typing term papers for him even when he had a lot going on.
  33. Encouraged his dad to take just him and his brothers on outings with just “the guys.”
  34. Taught him to be responsible to do his own laundry.
  35. Taught him how to make his bed and change his own sheets.
  36. Had conversations with him about sex at appropriate ages.
  37. Picked him up from a friend’s house when he didn’t feel comfortable with what was happening at the sleep-over.
  38. Taught him self-control in small areas.
  39. Shared my own struggles with him when I was a teenager.
  40. Waited to buy our first gaming system until he was a master at individual play and independent reading.
  41. Told him if he wanted a gaming system, he’d have to pay for it.
  42. Refrained from giving him a smartphone unless he pays for it.
  43. Expected him to have high standards.
  44. Prayed with him at night-time because our best conversations were by his bedside in the dark.
  45. Took him on a road trip at age fourteen.
  46. Gave him the opportunity to fail.
  47. Gave him every opportunity to succeed.
  48. Allowed him to pursue his dream of teaching children with disabilities instead of deterring him to a more high-paying profession.
  49. Required him wake me up whenever he gets home at curfew time.
  50. Told him I love him and am proud of him.

Simple Secrets For A Compelling Life

Do you feel trapped in a chaotic, relentless, demanding lifestyle? No matter where you live or what season of life you’re in, you can find inspiration from the simpler life. 


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  2. Jim Watkins

    Great list!

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