My oldest son turned thirteen a couple weeks ago, which means he’s officially entered manhood. For the milestone date, I curated a book of wisdom for him (King Solomon style) by asking several other men he knows and respects (grandfathers, mentors, family friends, etc.) to write down a page of manly advice specifically for him. Then, I bound these personalized proverbs together into a pamphlet and awarded it to him that week–his very own field guide to being a man.
This simple act lets a boy know that he’s now a part of a tribe of men who’ve gone before him, who will watch and guide him to success in his masculine role. For more ideas, read Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis.
Here is my entry on page one as an example:
“You are my firstborn son. In ancient times, this role meant you must lead the family when the father is gone. But also, you must lead your own family someday. I’ve seen your heart and mind, and know God has given you the raw materials to thrive as a man and leader—faith, integrity, courage, self-control, determination and the Holy Spirit.”
“Here’s my wisdom as you turn thirteen and enter manhood and the call to lead: Begin everyday asking God to fill you with His Spirit. This simple act will remind you where your power comes from. You cannot be like Christ or have a powerful faith-life without going to deeper places with God’s Spirit. This is also your assurance that you belong to God’s family and will live forever with Him. Christ bought this gift on a cross, so submerge yourself in such a gift.”
“Read the Bible everyday, especially in the morning. The Bible is hyperlinked with wisdom, direction and where you’ll find your place in God’s Big Story. The older you get, the more compelling and transformational it will be.”
“Live true to your convictions when no one else is around. If you say you believe and follow Christ, then let His life guide you into the private spaces—mind, heart and habits. Otherwise, hypocrisy and double-mindedness will gnaw away at your soul and leave you spiritually and relationally bankrupt.”
“Choose friends that influence you to take greater steps towards Christ. These men will carry you through winning and losing seasons, talk you into great things and talk you off the ledge. They’ll tell you what you need to hear and sometimes what you don’t want to hear, but they’ll love you into a greater man.”
“Let your work be an act of worship. Whatever profession or project you’re working at, do it with a perfect effort and a grateful attitude. You’re not entitled to anything; so treat every job like it’s your dream job—yes even taking out the trash. If so, you’ll always have a job.”
“Marry a woman that loves Jesus more than you. If so, she’ll love you like He does when you’re not acting lovable.”
“Manage money like a squirrel—eat enough to thrive and save for a long winter. Stuff will not make you happy, but generous giving will make you sleep with a smile on. Always give your church at least 10% of what you’re given and you’ll never be in want.”
“Tell someone about Jesus everyday. Take a missions trip every year. Then, the world will be better because you were here.”