Once upon a time I didn’t worry about raising hard-working little boys. I only had one and I lived in the country. When we moved to town, there was still plenty to do because it was a small town with lots of sandpiles and trees to climb. There were duck chores to be done (because farm animals were allowed within the city limits) and the next door neighbor’s garden to be dug in (yes, he knew we were digging in it).
Then we moved again. This time to a little larger town where no one knew us, but still there were pecans and pears to pick and railroad ties to stack. But, my little boy, now joined by another brother, didn’t have as much to do, nor as much freedom as he once had.
Then we moved again. This time to the city.
I’ve told you before what it is like to be the mother of boys and I’ve even told you how important I think it is that boys learn things like cooking and cleaning, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a tad bit worried about living in the city and raising boys who knew how to work and work hard.
In this day and age, we are hard pressed to find men who act like men and women who act like women. That is a whole different post, but I will say that irresponsibility abounds in our culture and I attribute much of that to the fact that we have an entire generation (or more) who don’t know what hard work is.
Now, you’ve heard the ideas of moving the wood pile back and forth from one end of the yard to the other and things like that to “create” hard work in the city, but I want you to think beyond that.
When we are raising boys, to what end are we raising them?
My answer is God-fearing, culture-changing men, who more than likely will be husbands and fathers. If that is my goal, then the kind of work opportunities I give them now should reflect that.
Hard work doesn’t necessarily have to involve heavy lifting (although, that is a good idea for building strength). Hard work is an attitude. Hard work is doing a job to completion even when he doesn’t want to. Hard work is doing a good job even when no one is looking. Hard work is searching out eternal Truths even when no one else is. Hard work is standing for that Truth even though others will try to knock him down. Hard work is learning how to run a household, budget money, set goals and work toward them, help others without expecting something in return, and controlling tempers. Hard work is being brave, opening doors for ladies, changing light bulbs, and putting together bookshelves. Hard work is doing all this and more with the attitude that he is working as unto the Lord.
What I’m trying to say here is that your son doesn’t need back-breaking work in order to grow up to be a man. Give him responsibilities. Expect hard things from him. Teach him to seek Truth and how to stand up for that Truth.
Being a man isn’t about his muscles, it’s about his strength.