The Making of a Man

outside photo of all the men in the donnelly family
All of my men!

Someone once said, "The difference between a man and a boy-no matter how old-is his willingness to bear responsibility." Oh so true!

We have been blessed with ten children-5 girls and 5 boys. Its seems like from the time a little girl starts playing dress up she is planning her wedding. We have held many "weddings" in our backyard with stuffed animals, the dogs, and who ever the girls could convince to be their groom.

I often laugh thinking of how many times Kyrsten made Nicholas and his friends play "wedding day." (Whoever would have thought that she and Jesse would one day become man and wife!)

We have put in the hearts of our girls to wait for a Godly man. One that loves the Lord, loves his family, works hard, and can handle this crazy large family. I have often heard other parents encouraging their girls in the same direction. But where are these men?

Sadly, we have a shortage of what we call "real men." Instead, we have an abundance of young boys who are bored, play video games instead of working, have no respect for their parents, and have no understanding of honor. How can we change this?

Walter and I are not the perfect parents. We have not always done this parenting thing right but thankfully, with God's grace, we are training some real men in our home. Raising and training young men is time consuming. One cannot just flip on a movie and a prince charming appears. No, it takes diligence, patience, and a sense of humor.

Here are some things we are learning about raising Men

Boys need to be challenged

They love to work if they can see an end result. For example, Walter and the boys built a new hog pen out of pallets. It took several days. Walter allowed them to do most of the work (they love power tools!) while he directed. When the project was complete they were so proud of themselves.

pigs in a homemade pallet pig pen

We have learned that boredom, especially in teen boys, breed discontentment. They need a purpose. Start looking around for things your boys can fix or create. Then brag about them when they are done! (even if it's not perfect)

teaching our boys to cook

Boys love the "adrenaline rush."

Our boys tend to gravitate towards hunting, dirt bikes, sports and fast cars. Boys are not meant to sit at a desk all day. They need to let out some energy.

In our homeschool, I give them energy breaks (ok, coffee break for me...whatever). My boys will jump on the trampoline, take the dirt bikes our for a quick spin and return to work on Algebra with a much better attitude.

Boys are natural protectors.

Train them to honor women and protect them. Have them spend time with the younger children, teaching them a skill, and allowing them to be the "boss." They will bond with the younger kids and become a natural protector. Great daddy training!

And at our house the girls are served dinner before the boys. Why? Walter wants to instill in their hearts that women and children should be cared for before their own needs.

raising our boys to protect women

As old fashioned as this sounds, we have worked hard to instill good manners.

I often tell my boys that I am training future husbands so learn to open the door for your sister, carry in groceries, say yes ma'am, and to never raise their voice to a lady. This has not always been easy!

raising our boys to respect and love women

Raise a boy to work hard

Let them mow yards, shovel snow, or stack wood. When they are older help them get a part time job. This is a great time to teach personal finances and the value of hard work even when they would rather go fishing.

raising our men to help the community by feeding the homeless

Teach them to work hard and play harder!

Don't overprotect your boys

Allow them to make some mistakes. They need to learn how to make wise decisions. And sometimes the way we gain wisdom is to have some failures. They need to learn that they will stand alone before God for their choices.

Put in their hearts and mind that a good name is rather to be chosen then great riches. My boys will often hear their dad saying "You represent the Donnelly tribe, represent well boys."

Our society is desperate for real patriotic men of honor, who show Godly character, who work hard, and who take their responsibilities seriously.

Men who even when they are tired or frustrated will get out of bed and go to work. Men who are determined to stay married in a society that says walk away. Men who know the value of prayer and church attendance. Men who protect the women and children.

As a mother of young ladies, I beseech you to train up a real man.

Raising boys can be hard! Are you currently raising boys or have you raised boys in the past? Tell us your funny stories and tips for raising men in the comment section below or in our Motherhood Forum!

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#parenting #raisingboys #amothersguidetoparenting #raisingmen #boys


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About Me

Welcome to our home, my name is Michele. My husband, Walter, and I have been happily married (most of the time) for 28 years. My husband is the Pastor of Strong Tower Church while I work as a Critical Care Nurse. Together, we have been blessed with 10 beautiful children.

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