Back in the day, it was common for men to spend much of their day in the company of their sons – either on the family farm or in the family business. In those settings, dads could teach their sons the practical lessons of everyday living, as well as the lessons of leadership, protection, and provision expected of manhood.
Today, society has taken on an entirely different look. The age of technology is separating us from one another. Kids have their faces buried in their phones and don’t take the time to look up and see that there is a whole world out there and that they should have a meaningful part in it.
Dads, therefore, have to be intentional about creating opportunities to teach their sons – to model manhood, to teach industry and resourcefulness. One way to do that is to compile a list of things that fathers can teach their sons all the while building confidence in their abilities as emerging men. You can, of course, modify this list any way you want, but there’s great stuff here.
1. Speak in public – public speaking is the one thing most people fear most.
2. Read good books – it sparks the imagination.
3. Play a musical instrument – especially because of the discipline required.
4. Play individual, two-person, and team sports.
5. Build a personal standard of excellence – to give 110% in anything you do.
6. Camp out – pitch the tent, cook stuff over the fire, the whole thing.
7. Be on time. Being late is controlling other people’s time and is insulting.
8. Learn a second language.
9. Learn how to fix things. There’s great pride in making something that’s broken work again.
10. Tie a knot – such as a bowline, square knot, taut-line, and figure eight, among others.
11. Use basic tools – hammer, saw, wrench, screwdriver.
12. Paint a room – trim and all.
13. Handle a gun and a knife – for safety, protection, sport, and hunting.
14. Laugh at yourself – a very valuable asset.
15. Be a gentleman – open doors, stand when a woman approaches, etc.
16. Grow stuff – especially stuff you can eat.
17. Iron a shirt – and do laundry and other work around the house.
18. Manage money – keep a balanced checkbook, show generosity, and learn basic saving and investing.
19. Shake a hand – a firm shake and look ’em in the eye.
20. Give a man hug – not that funky side thing men do today but a full arms spread eagle with bold back slaps.
21. Keep promises – a man’s word is his bond.
22. Dress like a gentleman – coordinate pants, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, socks, etc., appropriately to the occasion.
23. Tip – understand that many jobs are dependent on tips.
24. Serve others – shovel walks, help with heavy loads, etc.
25. Handle loss – loss can be a great preparation for success.