24 Aug MRS: Can we help shut down the factories where they build irresponsible men?
Can we help shut down the factories where they build irresponsible men?
According to Biblical scripture Adam was the first man. He was a grown man from the first day of his life. He never had a childhood. He never knew what it was like to be a boy that grew into a man. As a grown man the first thing he was given was responsibility. Biblical scripture says that the first male children were Cain and Abel. Both of them were given responsibility. As a matter of fact when God questions Cain about his missing brother, Cain responded, “Am I my brother’s keeper”. In other words, “Is he my responsibility”?
Once again I state the premise of my book, When I Became a Man. Males are born. Men are built. Males become men when the building blocks of manhood are built into them. Sis, your baby is going to remain a baby if he does not get the right stuff built in. From the beginning of time men have had to be able to be trusted with responsibility. That character trait has to be built into boys if they have the best chance and most optimal path to becoming responsible men. Real men possess the ability to appropriately respond to people and situations. We have to impart and construct that trait into our sons. Sure, we have to teach boys to initiate, but being able to fittingly respond is one of the hallmarks of true manhood. Real men have an authentic sense of responsibility.
Learning to be Responsible to Others
Sis, remember thinking when you got grown that would be the end of people telling you what to do? You know how false that assumption was now don’t you? Most of us will always be responsible to someone. Start building that trait early in your son. Develop a few non-negotiables, standards he must meet and jobs he must perform. Boys need to have some things they know they must do regardless of what else happens. It teaches them how to be responsible to a person and for a task. A sense of responsibility tells a man, “I have to answer to someone and I have to get this done.” That trait will be valuable for life.
Too Much Too Soon or Too Little Too Late
A sense of responsibility has to be constructed. It is not a talk. It is not simply a demand. It is a process, and timing and measuring are everything. Sons can get too much responsibility too soon or too little responsibility too late. I wish there was a standard answer relative to when and how much, depends on the capacity of your son and to a lesser degree the context in which he is growing up. For example, usually when a boy is given too much responsibility too soon it is usually because of the absence of a man. The boy is told he has to take up the slack or be the man of the house. His boyhood is stolen from him. Sometimes it is a matter of fending for himself without proper supervision. Other times the boy has an unjust burden to “pitch in” or look out for his own financial needs or even worse unduly contribute to the emotional, esteem and security needs of his mom because he is the only male around to do it. He has to “look out for his mom” before he can really grow up. Sis, you have to consciously operate like he is your son and not your man.
There is another side to this coin. We give boys too little responsibility too late for the character development to happen early enough. Child psychologists and family therapists can give you more information on the timing, but I know it should start early, sometime before puberty. I said earlier start with a few non-negotiables. Make him responsible for some tasks. Then move to managing age-appropriate options. By all means do not totally remove consequences. Second chances will be needed. Mercy will be warranted, but your son must learn as early as possible the importance of consequence. I can never learn to be responsible if someone else consistently protects me from the consequence of my irresponsibility. I know. It is painful to see your boy, your baby, your little man, or your son who is really trying, having to deal with the pain of consequence. I beg you for the sake of your son’s development just to go in another room and cry. It is best for both of you in the end. Who ends up taking care of a grown man who cannot be trusted with responsibility? His mama does. Build him right.
I tell high school seniors that as a general rule they should be able to take care of themselves 6 years after their high school graduation. I know it is not exact, but I use it as a benchmark. If building does not take place over night is your son on his way to be a responsible man by age 24? Be honest.
Mothers Raising Sons (MRS) is a resource to assist single moms in their effort to raise their wonderful sons to become exceptional men. Each entry will elaborate on principles taken from the book, When I Became a Man. The foundational premise of the book is “Males are born. Men are built”.
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