Q&A: Teaching my son about “manliness”


I’m a newlywed soon-to-be dad. I never knew my own father, so when I think about teaching my son to be “manly” I’m intimidated. What does “manliness” really look like?

Answer: We think a common misperception is that “manliness” equates to brute power and strength. But when it comes to being a good father and husband, we’d suggest something else. How about “sacrifice”?

“Sacrifice” is considered a weakness by a lot of guys.  That’s too bad, because when you look at healthy families you generally see a common trait: sacrificial men. These are the guys who go to their children’s badminton game even if they’d rather stay home and watch football. They’re patient with their children when a bike gets left in the rain for the umpteenth time. Men who sacrifice develop stronger, more loving family relationships.

It’s a paradox, really. We’re at our strongest when we lay down our lives, even in small ways, for our wives and children. It can be hard to do, and we don’t always do it well. But that’s why it’s called “sacrifice.”

As fathers, we have to challenge ourselves to sacrifice for our families. We should not only tell them we love them, but show them that they’re the most important people in the world to us. It could be leaving work early for a special dinner with our wives. Or maybe it’s staying patient and lovingly correcting your child when they’re careless and scratch your car. Sacrifice will lead you to make significant choices. But being a dad is a significant experience.

For help with your fathering, explore our Articles.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.






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