Raising Godly Men Out of a Toxic Culture

Rhonda Robinson 1 Comment

If you are raising a boy today, the path to manhood may not seem as clear as it was for you or your brother. Maybe you’re wondering how to raise your little guy into a godly man. It can feel especially daunting in a culture that sends such conflicting messages about faith and masculinity. Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA, offers some valuable insights on this topic for parents navigating the ever shifting cultural terrain.

The Importance of Role Models in Shaping Biblical Masculinity

The question at the heart of this issue is, as Mark explains, “What does it mean to be a man?”

This is not just a question posed by a young man in a counseling office, but a question being asked by an entire generation of young men. Men who are growing up in a society that has drifted so far from what was once considered the norm.

Throughout history, the role of a man was clear.

A good man, a godly man, was the one who stood up, showed courage, protected his family, and provided for them. A man’s ability to do these things were not only required for survival, they were highly prized attributes.

Sadly, these values have faded in our culture. What was once considered admirable qualities in a man, is now considered suspect, demonized, and labeled as “toxic.” This is particularly concerning not only for families, but growing boys trying to find how they fit in the world around them.

Our boys’ natural abilities, their God given strengths are utterly devalued and dismissed.

Consider this: one in four boys doesn’t have a father in their home, and 76 percent of public school teachers are female. Girls have plenty of strong female role models. Boys simply do not. This lack of male role models is significant. It plays an important role in how he sees himself. Most importantly, how he answers the question of what a man is, and what a man does.

Boys need to see examples of what it means to be a man. Interestingly, society often views manhood from the outside.

We tend to focus on external behaviors to define what it means to be a man. This approach can lead to confusion among boys. In contrast, the Bible talks about an inside-out formation, emphasizing the importance of character traits.

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Character Traits for Godly Manhood: Beyond Courage and Sacrifice

Key traits that define godly manhood include courage and sacrifice. However, two overlooked traits in our culture are selflessness and self-sacrifice.

These qualities used to be evident in sports stars and male leaders. Men who would set examples of what it means to sacrifice for the team. However, many of today’s sports stars seem to be out for themselves, leaving boys without these crucial role models.

Another pair of traits critical to raising boys into godly men are gentleness and humility. People often confuse these traits with passivity and softness. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They are actually signs of strength.

They require self-control and offer the opportunity for growth. A humble man can acknowledge his shortcomings and strive to do better, while a gentle man can treat others kindly, following the Golden Rule.

Teaching boys about gentleness and self-control is essential in a world that often mistakes power for strength. It’s about showing them that true strength lies in being able to love and respect others, not in exerting dominance or control.

The journey to godly manhood begins with an identity rooted in Christ. Jesus modeled humility and gentleness, but he also stood up when necessary. This balance is what boys today need to see. They need to see that it’s possible to be both strong and humble, to be assertive and kind, to be powerful, and gentle.

The Role of Parents in Guiding the Conversation on Identity

Raising boys to become godly men in a toxic culture is a challenging task, but it’s not impossible. It starts with a conversation about identity, about who they are in Christ. Parents have the privilege and responsibility to guide this conversation, to help their sons understand that their identity is not based on the fragile picture painted by society, but on the solid truth of what God says about who they are.

As parents, we have the ability to initiate these conversations with our children, especially during their formative pre-teen years. We can guide them towards understanding their true identity in Christ, rather than letting them build their self-image based on the unstable and often misleading portrayals of manhood in our culture.

Mark Hancock’s insights provide a starting place for these conversations. His emphasis on the importance of selflessness, self-sacrifice, gentleness, and humility in defining godly manhood is a refreshing contrast to the self-centered and aggressive models of masculinity often promoted in our society.

Raising Godly Men

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Above all, we can teach boys to value leaning on God and acknowledging their weaknesses in a world that frequently tells them to “buck up” and solve things independently.

This humility can empower them to conquer their insecurities and fears, rather than hiding behind them.

Key Takeaways: How to Raise Boys into Godly Men

Raising godly men in today’s culture is a daunting task. Nonetheless, with the right guidance and a firm foundation in Christ, it is an achievable goal. As parents, we can guide our sons through the confusing messages they encounter about manhood, steering them towards their roles as godly men.

1. Understanding Manhood:

It’s crucial to understand and communicate what it means to be a man from a biblical perspective, especially in a culture that often sends conflicting messages about masculinity.

2. Role Models Matter:

Boys need strong male role models. If they lack these in their immediate environment, parents can help them find examples in history, literature, and other sources.

3. Character Over Behavior:

Focus on developing character traits like selflessness, self-sacrifice, gentleness, and humility.

4. Identity in Christ:

The journey to godly manhood begins with an identity rooted in Christ.

5. Parental Guidance:

Parents have the privilege and responsibility to guide conversations about identity. Help your sons understand that their identity is not based on societal expectations, but on the solid truth of what God says about who they are.

6. Early Preparation:

Start these conversations early, ideally during the formative pre-teen years. This gives boys a solid foundation as they grow into young men.

7. Consistent Updates:

Keep updating and reinforcing these lessons as your child grows. This helps to solidify their understanding and application of these principles in their daily lives.

©2023 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

About the Author
Rhonda Robinson

Rhonda Robinson

Rhonda Robinson, mother of nine and grandmother of 37 is an award winning author, Manager and Content Producer for Focus on the Family. Rhonda married her high school sweetheart, now, they are learning to adjust their empty nest in Colorado Springs.

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