We want to help parents raise "good" boys in this postmodern age. The culture is at war with the family, especially its youngest and most vulnerable members. Harmful and enticing messages are shouted at them from movies and television, from the rock-music industry, from the advocates of so-called safe-sex ideology, from homosexual activists, and from the readily available obscenity on the Internet. The question confronting parents is, "How can we steer our boys and girls past the many negative influences that confront them on every side?" It is an issue with eternal implications.
Our purpose in this regard will be to assist mothers and fathers as they "play defense" on behalf of their sons—that is, as they protect their boys from immoral and dangerous enticements. But that is not enough. Parents also need to "play offense"—to capitalize on the impressionable years of childhood by instilling in their sons the antecedents of character. Their assignment during two brief decades will be to transform their boys from immature and flighty youngsters into honest, caring men who will be respectful of women, loyal and faithful in marriage, keepers of commitments, strong and decisive leaders, good workers, and secure in their masculinity. And of course, the ultimate goal for people of faith is to give each child an understanding of Scripture and a lifelong passion for Jesus Christ. This is, I believe, the most important responsibility for those of us who have been entrusted with the care and nurturance of children.
Parents a century ago had a much better "fix" on these long-term objectives and how to achieve them. Some of their ideas are still workable today, and I will share them presently. I'll also provide a review of the latest research on child development and parent-child relationships. My prayer is that the findings and recommendations gleaned from that body of information, combined with my own professional experience spanning more than thirty years, will offer encouragement and practical advice to those who pass this way.
So buckle your seat belts. We have a lot of interesting ground to cover. But first, here's a little poem to get us started. It is taken from the lyrics to a song I love, sent to me by my friend Robert Wolgemuth. When Robert was a youngster, his mother, Grace Wolgemuth, sang "That Little Boy of Mine" to him and his siblings. I first heard it when Robert and his wife, Bobbie, sang it to my mother in 1983. A copyright search has turned up no information regarding the ownership of the lyrics and tune. To the best of their knowledge, Grace Wolgemuth's children believe that she created the song for them, and I am using it with their permission.
That Little Boy of Mine:
Two eyes that shine so bright
Two lips that kiss goodnite
Two arms that hold me tight
That little boy of mine.
No one could ever know, how much your coming has meant
To me you're everything. You're something heaven has sent
You're all the world to me
You climb upon my knee
To me you'll always be
That little boy of mine.Book: Bringing Up Boys
By Dr. James Dobson