The day I received an email from Melanie and Hal Young was probably like any other day with 3 young boys. Except that the commonplace falls, bumps and bruises of this particular day necessitated our first ER visit (I know, not too bad in 9 combined years of little boyhood).
“Would you be interested in a review copy of Raising Real Men?” They asked.
Still shaking from our first ER visit, I laughed at reading the subtitle, Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys, (at the moment, I’d have taken one out of three) and answered an emphatic, “Yes!” while internally squeaking, “Help!”
And I’m glad I did. Raising Real Men is an enjoyable read. Free from fad/pop psychology theories, this book encourages parents to help boys become men as God (not modern culture) intended with substantial scriptural (NKJV) basis.
With a great sense of humor, the Young’s (who have 6 boys and 2 girls) point out the myriad ways that the innate characteristics of young boys (boundless energy, destructiveness, risk-taking, etc.), properly developed and trained rather than stripped away, can lead to strong, responsible, faithful leaders. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of role models and heroes (with Jesus being the ultimate hero) at a time when society’s portrayal of men seems to be either feminized or power-hungry.
Sometimes life with boys is pretty overwhelming and the temptation to just get through the day is very appealing. The Young’s encourage parents to fight against this writing, “Our focus must be on leading our sons into godly manhood, not just trying to manage them to make our lives more convenient and pleasant,” noting the truth that, “when the boys are quiet, someone better check on them.”
Acknowledging that supernatural life is a grace from God, the Young’s encourage parents to pursue their own life of prayer (and, I would add, the Sacraments) and relationship with Christ as the best way to draw our children to Our Lord. This example, even in its imperfections, is indispensable.
Our Incrediboys are still quite young, so I don’t know yet how we will handle some of the issues tackled in later chapters including money, college and courtship, though I appreciated reading those chapters as well.
There is a great chapter on homeschooling boys packed with tons of practical advice (which also reminds me that I wanted to read Leonard Sax’s Boys Adrift). Some ideas are things that we have already figured out on our own…our oldest runs laps in the yard when we sense he’s getting antsy. He also does all of his writing work standing up. He just can’t sit in a chair (literally, he falls out on a daily basis!). One of several reasons that a traditional classroom would be such a challenge for him and many other boys.
Written from a Christian perspective, there is much good advice, friendly humor and biblical wisdom in this book. Raising Real Men (free shipping on their website) is a real and practical book from real, practical parents who know that life with boys is messy and noisy as well as joyful and inspiring.