Perhaps there is no greater threat to this generation of young people than gender identity. This issue is compounded by a variety of factors. Here in the South (my context) you are considered a man if you hunt, drive a truck, have a pretty girl on your arm, and go to football games on the weekend. In the South to be a man means you don’t pray out loud, don’t sing in church, and you darn sure better not cry!
Pop-psychology has taken its toll as well on manhood in our culture. Raising children has become all about making sure you don’t hurt the self-esteem of a child. Furthermore, you are a successful parent if you child literally does not get physically hurt.
Furthermore, worldliness has had its say in the matter. Men are told not to be “too manly” because they might offend someone. Worldliness, is in effect, emasculating our sons.
John Piper says, “The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this deprecation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity.”
How do we encourage healthy, biblical masculinity in our sons? Here is some biblical and practical advice.
- Model manhood. Randy Stinson says that, “Manhood is not forced – it’s forged! What are some things you can start doing to build manhood in your son? Camping, serving, building, how to treat women are some ideas. Invite your sons to do the things that you do.
- Encourage masculinity. Show your sons what men do. Show them how to build something, how to shave, how to grill, how to sing in church, etc… Give him responsibility. Teach him to be a leader and a protector.
- Use warfare language when describing the Christian life. Particularly waging war on sexual immorality. Battle-language is built into the DNA of a boy – exploit that when teaching him about godly living.
- Teach biblical manhood. Start in Genesis and teach your son how God created Adam to work, to provide, to protect, to lead.
I highly recommend this short book: A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas. They have helped me tremendously in this arena.