Training Sons in Righteousness

Stephen Ashton 0 Comments

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.”  – Isaiah 32:17

One of the greatest challenges in training a boy’s character is teaching moral rightness. At the core of the word righteousness is the word right. How do boys learn right from wrong? It is taught most clearly in the physical realm.  The outdoors, where we have to live with our answers, provide a fertile ground for experience. If a boy pitches a tent incorrectly, he gets wet. If a fisherman’s knot is not tied right, he goes hungry. If his feet get wet in the winter, he gets cold.  Forgetting to soap a pot before cooking over a fire is not a lesson quickly forgotten. In the physical world, boys have to live with their mistakes, but they also learn the feeling of doing a job right. The feeling of staying dry in a storm, catching a fish, and starting a one match fire. The feeling of contentment that comes from knowing a job is well done.

Admiral William H. McRaven said, “If you want to change the world . . . start off by making your bed.” Without teaching children right from wrong in the physical realm, which they can see and feel, our chances of teaching right from wrong in the more abstract, mental, relational, and spiritual realm, is greatly decreased. Our experience of rightness in the physical realm teaches us the feeling of peace. As Isaiah said, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace…quietness and confidence.” Trail Life USA leads boys to find ultimate peace through the righteousness purchased on our behalf by the blood of Jesus Christ. The understanding of a need for that righteousness often begins when peace is experienced in the small things. Look for everyday practical experiences in your home to help your son experience feelings of peace and rightness. As boys experience physical orderliness they develop mental orderliness, and mental orderliness produces orderly behavior. “If you want to change the world . . . start off by making your bed.”

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About the Author
Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton is the National Director of Marketing for Trail Life USA and serves as an adjunct professor at Clarks Summit University and Anchor Christian University. Prior to his work at Trail Life, he spent 15 years working with at-risk youth in residential therapeutic wilderness programs and served as the Vice-President of the Wilderness Road Therapeutic Camping Association. An author and a speaker, he has written for journals and published a book chronicling the foundations therapeutic camping. He frequently speaks on the topics of fatherhood, biblical masculinity, outdoor education, and wilderness therapy. Stephen lives in South Carolina with his wife and 4 sons.

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