The most important thing the world needs is Jesus, of course. But do you know what #2 is? It’s boys who grow up to become successful men. And no, the promoting of men is not a disadvantage to girls. And no, this country is not doing a good job of making men anymore. But you already knew that. What you need now is data and solutions.
Dr. Leonard Sax is a family physician and psychologist who has spent his career focused on modern culture’s negative impacts on boys and girls. In his revised edition of “Boys Adrift, the Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men,” Dr. Sax shares his experience with the ways society is failing boys, and what you can do to help recover them:
Factor One: Changes at School
- The pace of education has accelerated. Girls can keep up because they are usually motivated to please the teachers; boys don’t share that motivation.
- The style of education has become more didactic. Boys need experiential, multi-sensory interaction with what they are learning.
- When boys lose interest – they stop paying attention and they stop trying. They conclude school is not the place for them.
- Sports and competition have changed too. What impacts a girl’s well-being is not the same for boys. Boys need clearly defined winners and losers.
Be creative, and work with other parents to bring ideas to your school to make it more boy-friendly. Groups of positive, proactive parents can influence a school to offer “in bounds” policies for instance. Such as, they don’t have to let boys play dodge ball where others who don’t want to play could get hurt (out of bounds); but instead allow it on the football field (in bounds). Parents can sign a waiver so the school won’t be held liable, helping to convince schools not to ban it completely. Also, in the areas of teaching style and assessment, there are many changes you could encourage your child’s school to implement in the favor of boys, especially if you’re willing to join them to make it possible. Some parents have changed schools or even move to a new school district when they have discovered their son’s school is resistant to becoming more male-friendly.
Factor Two: Video Games
- Where some boys may feel like aliens or failures in school these days, they can feel right at home in video games.
- They quickly learn that they can become a hero in the virtual world. And this can lead to inordinate amounts of time spent in front of a screen.
As parents, you don’t have to allow your child to play certain video games that you have determined have more consequences than benefits. You have more insight than your son does and possibly more information than his classmates’ parents do, so you may have to be the only one (or at least the first one) who does the limiting of screen time. Get them outside having the kind of adventure that boys were made to have, and allow time for their brains and souls to get back on track.
Factor Three: Medications for ADHD
- Along with the high numbers of children diagnosed with ADHD today, doctors are quick to say “let’s give medicine a try.” However, there are at least two important findings regarding ADHD medications parents need to know.
- First, medications for ADHD can result in behavior modifications in a child who does not have ADHD just as much as in a child who does.
- Additionally, these medications have been shown to lower a child’s ambition.
Make sure your child actually meets all of the criteria for ADHD, and review all the other factors that may be contributing to your son’s struggles before you consider medical treatment. Then, if clinical intervention still becomes necessary, Dr. Sax recommends non-stimulant alternatives first. (Another option is to research Amen Clinic or similar approaches that utilize diet and natural supplements.)
Factor Four: Endocrine Disruptors
- Studies continue to demonstrate how chemicals found in plastics can act like sex hormones producing damaging results on child health and development.
- Plastics are also linked to increases in ADHD symptoms.
Avoid plastic. Give young boys water and milk in glass bottles or steel canteens. Don’t reheat food in the microwave in a plastic container.
Factor Five: Social Norms
- It’s not cool for boys to admit they like to learn.
- It’s no longer honorable for boys to admit they don’t want to be involved with porn.
- It’s not politically correct for men to admit they need a good woman to keep them motivated.
- If boys in a society with these standards are not trained by thriving older men, they will not turn out well.
Boys need to spend time with and look up to modest, honorable men. Joining a community of like-minded parents is a good place to start. Dr. Sax shares several stories of how you can create a very strong parent network that supports raising children to be motivated, successful boys (and girls). In addition, he has written several other books, including “Girls on the Edge” with more ideas to combat this modern dilemma parents are facing. (Perimeter School in Johns Creek, Georgia is one such strong and committed group of parents (and students) that follows a covenant community model of raising and encouraging productive young men and women.)
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
- Consider reading this book or other works by Dr. Sax for much more detail on the above factors.
- Using the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, create a home and parenting philosophy to guide you in raising sons.
- Pray for your sons according to every detail of this post, especially for the Lord to bring like-minded parents into your life to form an alliance against strong cultural forces in the lives of the next generation. (There are parenting communities who are so tight-knit that all the influencing “dads” become groomsmen at their weddings, boys are receiving multiple godfathers, and boys-only birthday parties involve a lot of men, sweat, and dirt). Do what it takes in these times.
- Don’t just read the stories of Moses, Elijah, Daniel, David, Jesus, etc. to boys. Encourage them to get outside and reenact those stories, and live like those real men.
“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:15)
You could say she is a celebrity. Her hometown, Bethany…her sister, Martha…and her brother, Lazarus…all helped make her famous (Luke 7; Luke 10; John 12). But stripping all of that away, who was this Mary?
Her qualities were as follows:
- Sat at the feet of Jesus
- Was teachable, especially by the Lord
- Chose good things
- Devoted sister
- Loved her brother
- Grieved deeply the loss of her brother
- Worshipful and subservient (anointed the Lord with oil)
- Humble (she wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair)
- Sorrowful that He had to die
So, do you think you could have dated Mary with the hopes of making her your wife one day? If you had been helping Martha while Mary wasn’t lifting a finger, would you have impulsively admonished Mary before thinking it through? If you saw your girlfriend weeping, pouring expensive perfume, and wiping the Messiah’s feet with her hair, would you have been more than a tad bit uncomfortable? Or would you have been the one providing the fragrance?
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Examine your values when it comes to the purpose of a relationship. As much as you need a future help-mate, how willing are you to encourage her to focus on her love relationship with Jesus before she thinks about you?
Review the list of qualities you’ve been looking for in a girl. You might be drawn to Mary’s loving and affectionate ways, but gushes over Jesus might not have been a feature on your ideal girlfriend list. What could motivate you to modify your list?
Look back at your support of biblical femininity. How have you encouraged the young women in your life to be more like Mary? Or how have you discouraged the young women in your life from being more like her?
Promote the example that has been set for all believers, male and female. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)
No matter where you stand on politics, you can agree that Melania Trump displays femininity and beauty. No one can just decide to be born with the precisely female traits that God has given to a lady like Melania. Rather, she was created in this manner by Him in order to reflect His image of beauty, majesty, love, and gentleness.
During her Convention speech on Monday night, the poised Melania was a refreshing reminder to older generations of a time when being a lady was considered an honor and a gift. And she can be a role model to the next generation proving to them that being distinctively female is powerful, free, and special.
Furthermore, irregardless of controversy over the words of her speech, the Lord’s ways were being revealed through Melania’s eloquent presentation as she honored her parents, respected her husband, nurtured her family, valued hard work, celebrated her country, understood the role of suffering, and recognized God.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
- In everything you do and say, revere the extraordinary blessing God bestowed on His creation by designing the female person. (Gen. 1:27)
- Don’t buy into the lies that equality means sameness. She is “fit for him;” not identical to him. (Gen. 2:18)
- When the younger generation expresses utter confusion about gender, don’t blame them for their lack of understanding. Fight against the battle for this beautiful gender. (Eph. 6:12)
- Pray for Melania Trump and other women like her – that the Spirit of the Lord will continue to flow through them making them more and more beautiful and contagious for all the world to be drawn closer to the perfection of beauty, our Lord, Jesus Christ. (Ps. 50:2)
Can you keep dry eyes while watching this video of Marcus Luttrell speaking last night? Why is it that he’s so inspiring? It’s because he is showing off to you exactly what God had in mind when He created male.
During that 6-minute speech, Luttrell showed you the manly Jesus traits of bravery, honor, grit, selflessness, encouragement, strength, prayer, and order.
Older generations were reminded of a time when all men were raised to look to this standard for manhood, and history was considered a great teacher. But it is not too late for the males of the next generation to follow in the footsteps of Marcus Luttrell.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
- In everything you do and say, respect God’s design for creating the male person. (Gen. 1:27)
- Don’t buy into the lies that equality means sameness. He is to lead her; not trample her, and not view her assigned femininity as invisible. (1 Cor. 7:17; Eph. 5:23, 25)
- When the younger generation of males appear utterly lazy, don’t blame them for their lack of passion. Fight the battle where it really lies. (Eph. 6:12)
- Pray for Marcus Luttrell and other men like him –that our mighty Lord will continue to flow through them making them bolder for all the world to be drawn closer to the perfection of strength, our Lord, Jesus Christ. (Lk. 23:34; 1 Jn. 3:16)
If you were to ask your young son or a special boy in your life what he thinks it means to become a man, can you predict how he might answer? If you were to ask your girls what kind of man they are looking for in a future husband, how might they answer? Examine the two categories below and imagine whether you would hear answers from one category more than the other.
World’s Latest Definition of Becoming a Man
- To have total freedom.
- To be able to do what you want, when you want.
- To have a room in your house called a “man-cave.”
- To not have to be in school.
- To be able to buy what you want, when you want it.
- To be able to buy nice cars and the latest gadgets.
- To be old enough to legally buy and drink alcohol.
- To be popular “with the ladies” or have a live-in girlfriend.
- To deserve time off from work and have free time with “the guys.”
- To be well-established within social media.
Scripture’s Never-Changing Definition of Manhood
- To commit to walk in the ways of the Lord. (1 Kings 2:3)
- To leave a legacy of having faithfulness to God. (1 Kings 2:4)
- To be strong and courageous, not afraid or discouraged. (1 Chron. 28:20)
- To run from all sexual temptation outside of the marriage bed. (Gen. 39:12; Heb. 13:4)
- To put others first, starting with family. (Num. 32:17; Phil. 2:3,4)
- To give to and promote freedom for the poor and oppressed. (Is. 61:1)
- To fellowship for the reason of accountability and building up of other men. (Jn. 3:22; 13:35; 15:8; 20:19)
- To lead others to the Father and to the Son. (Jn. 6:32, 40; 1 Cor. 8:6)
- To live the kind of bold, adventurous, sacrificing, masculine life that can only be explained as one who is being led by the Spirit. (Acts 4:31-35;16:25)
Keeping Room Tips:
It’s never too late for someone to begin encouraging and consistently modeling Biblical Manhood for the boys in your life. To do so is urgent because the world’s updated definition is very well-promoted to the young generation. Start with prayer, and then wait for the Lord to show you how and who will play this needed role for the boys in your life. And encourage the daughters and besties in your life to pray accordingly for their future husbands and sons, and to build-up their guy friends towards Biblical manhood.
Because God specifically created His people as male and female, amazing relational feats can be accomplished through the unique ways that God designed His girls. To the extent that females are made in the image of God, they are naturally nurturing and relational, and were created to be the relationship teachers for mankind. But ever since the Mother of All Living sinned and fell short of her design (Gen. 3:20, 6), girls can really struggle with knowing how to express their feminine calling, and they continue to face many obstacles along the way in this fallen world.
Some of the greatest hindrances for the modern female include:
- Struggling to believe they are worthy
- Needing to overcome the absence of holy, female role models in their past
- Requiring skills in knowing when and how to regulate their emotions
- Wrestling with how to navigate social situations in order to build relationships
- Missing the components of good decision-making
- Living in a culture that celebrates status over discipleship/sanctification
- Losing innocence at young ages
- Falling for the lie that submission is necessarily oppressive
- Managing time in a way that omits the riches of God’s Word
Keeping Room Tips: Consider whether you would like to try a special way to develop your female character.
The Opportunity: A safe small group with an experienced facilitator, where mothers and daughters can grow together towards greater discovery of God’s beautiful design for females.
Who: Perhaps you are a daughter who would like your mother to better understand the world in which you live, so she can better support and guide you…Perhaps you are a mother who longs to teach your daughter what you were never given, but you don’t know how…Perhaps you are passionate about girls overcoming hindrances to modern female excellence and you feel that God is calling you to this group…If any of these fit you, this group might be for you.
When: Groups will be formed according to needs and stages of life and will run for the duration of the summer, according to the schedule of participants. Fees will vary depending on the size and frequency of groups. To ask any questions and to register, please email email@example.com. Feel free to forward this article to any mothers or daughters you think may be interested.
Women Accompany Jesus and the Disciples…[Jesus] went on through towns and villages, preaching and bringing the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God. And the Twelve [apostles] were with Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been expelled; and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager; and Susanna; and many other (women), who ministered to and provided for Him and them out of their property and personal belongings. (Luke 8:1-3, Amp.)