Posts Tagged ‘failure


Raising sons to be more than big boys

As a dad I want more for my three sons then that they get bigger, stronger and learn to eat their vegetables. I want them to develop inner strength, character and spiritual maturity. I don’t want them just to be big boys playing at life; I want them to be men of God leading with integrity.

Dave Conklin at Warrior’s Hand posted a list of ten needs of a fourteen year old boy. I have reproduced that here,

1. To climb a mountain and look down from the peak.
2. To sit around a campfire with team mates and good friends.
3. To test his strength and his skills on his very own.
4. To be alone with his own thoughts and with his God.
5. To reach out and find the hand of an adult willing to help.
6. To have a code to live by…easily understood and fair.
7. Play hard for the fun of it…and work hard for the thrill of it.
8. To have a chance to fail…and know why.
9. To have good friends and to be a good friend.
10. To have a hero…and a vision to measure him by.

I love this list. In particular #8 caught my attention. It is tough to see your sons making choices that you know very likely will lead to failure. Tough because you would like to spare them the pain of it. But pain sometimes is the better teacher. So when do you as dad intervene and say, “No you can’t do that”? When do you give advice but give them the freedom to make the final choice even if it leads to failure? And how do you effectively give feedback when failure indeed is the outcome of their choice?

Any thoughts?



This blog is a place to wrestle with loving, leading and labouring according to the Jesus Way.


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