1 Corinthians 13:11 tells us, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” Adolescent young men need to be trained to step away from childish things, and learn how to step up and speak like a man, think like a man, and reason like a man. Here is the first of six non-negotiables for training young men:
1. They need help assassinating selfishness and pride.
From the time a boy is born, he is full of himself. As a toddler he needs no training to become a tyrant. He does that naturally. And if allowed, he will morph from an incorrigible and bullheaded boy into a self-absorbed teen and, ultimately, a selfish adult, “Enemy Number One” of true manhood. When a man suffers from arrogance, he isn’t teachable. He can’t admit fault. He refuses correction and won’t be responsible. With himself as the center of his universe, all others must make their orbits around him and his needs. Ultimately he rebuffs almighty God and says, “You do Your thing and I’ll do mine. I am my own god.” A man who is full of himself will never be the man God created him to be. It is only as a man understands who God is and how he relates to God as a man that he can begin the process of becoming a real man. When a young man does understand his relationship with God, it affects all of his relationships. It makes him a giver rather than a taker. He puts the needs of others ahead of his own (Philippians 2:3–4). And he understands that a portion of his mission on earth is to help others know God personally, as he does. Avoid feeding his primal selfishness. Instead charge him with the care and protection of his mother, his siblings, and others. Put limits on the amount of time he spends on the Internet, texting, or playing video games. Instead, put him to work. Hard work. Our sons worked ten to fifteen hours a week when they turned fourteen. Work is a powerful tool in overcoming selfishness. Sweat and calluses are good for a young man. Ultimately you are training your son to assume responsibility and fulfill another nonnegotiable, what Christ called the great commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). Read Part 2 for non-negotiables 2 & 3 Excerpted with permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing, 2012.