As I thought about writing out a list of things a father should teach his son, I started to feel a bit uneasy. Penetrating questions raced through my mind. Did I do this as a man? Did my boys see it in my life? Did I teach my boys to do these things too? Well, I can say with great certainty to all of these questions, “yes, “no,” and “sometimes.” Having made that confession, I’d like to share a few things that I’ve sought to teach my two sons, now ages 18 and 17, throughout the years.
1. Be a Gentleman. A firm handshake combined with looking the other person in the eye carries with it respect, dignity, and strength. Opening a car door for a woman, standing up at table when she is seated, and carrying a heavy bag for her displays honor.
2. Honor Your Father and Mother. Honor and esteem your mother and father not because of their performance, but simply because of their position as your parents.
3. Respect Women. Respect a woman physically by honoring her body and accepting that it is reserved for her future husband. Respect her emotionally by understanding that she has very special ways of thinking and feeling that are different from yours.
4. Be a Man of Integrity. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” C.S. Lewis makes this one real clear. Be a man who speaks the truth and lives by the truth.
5. Take Responsibility. Do what you say you’ll do, do it right, and do it with excellence. When you don’t do something the right way, man up and own it. That means apologize immediately without excuses and pursue doing it the right way the next time.
6. Work Hard. We were all created to work and work is good. Work is necessary for a productive life. Work teaches self-discipline. Work is not only healthy for the body, but also healthy for the mind.
7. Love Others. Loving others is our great and eternal duty. Love is all about giving selflessly and sacrificially to others.
8. Love God. We were created by God and for God. We are to love him with all of our being—heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is absolutely the most important thing I must teach my sons.
Those are most of the most important things I’ve sought to teach my sons. I realize this list is not exhaustive and that there are many other things that we need to teach our sons. Can you share some others?