Parenting Boys: Book Recommendations from a Pastor
I felt the need to add in the title that these are book recommendations from a Pastor because:
1) They ARE book recommendations from a pastor. 🙂
2) We tend to trust pastors since they are called by God to share the Word.
3) Pastors have great resources for people on various topics
I’ll introduce the pastor before you read the blog.
Pastor Tyler is a senior pastor (and worship leader, associate pastor, garbage taker-outer, etc) at an Evangelical Free Church in Iowa. The church was a church plant started January 2011 and he was called to pastor in May of that year. He was previously a youth pastor for 5 years at another E.Free church in Iowa and only left because of the Lord leading him to become a solo pastor at a church plant. He’s a Bible-believing, gospel-centered, discipleship-promoting evangelist. He’s also a pretty great dad to two sons and a great husband. I can say that with confidence because he is my hubby. 🙂
Blog from Pastor Tyler:
Books on Parenting Boys
1. The Bible
– for some reason people roll their eyes like they’ve been ripped-off when a pastor (or anyone) suggests the Bible is a book to be read by parents but this isn’t simply a pastoral cliché. The Bible is a book you should read. You should read it personally, with your family, and with a community of committed followers of Jesus Christ. You should read it not simply as moral guidance or parental advice. Despite the fact that most Americans still hold the Bible in high regard, we don’t actually read it. In fact most professing Christians don’t actually read the Bible (consider this
). It is important to say (cheesy-pastoral-passive-aggressive-humor-aside) the best book you can read on parenting sons is the Bible. In the entirety of the scriptures you’ll read the story of our Father in heaven who sent Jesus His Son to make us His children forever through adoption by the Holy Spirit. So before everything else read God’s Word.
2. Future Men by
pastor, author, and Classical Christian Education Advocate Douglas Wilson – this book addresses some of the current foundational issues our world is facing in raising boys. Wilson is a very entertaining writer who is engagingly biblical. He addresses gender issues, parents, scripture, and faith community. Chapters address very practical issues such as sin, work ethic, money, freedom in Christ, relationships with the opposite sex, and even an appendix about marijuana use and the book of Proverbs. I’d highly recommend this book!
3. Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis – though this is written for fathers, many principles are applicable to both parents and equally important for moms and dads to understand.
4. Wild Things
by Stephen James
– a thorough exploration of specific needs of boys as they become men. Many ministry moms and dads I know and trust said they liked this too which helps!
In almost every book I’ve read about raising boys (including those written from Christian, Jewish, Psychological, Sociological, and non-religious perspectives) these two themes emerge:
-Get them in a tribe.
Make sure your boys are regularly influenced by men who you wish for them to emulate in life. Ideally this begins with their dad, (stepdad), grandfather, brothers, uncles, or cousins but must also extend to spiritual fathers in the church, community, or (in the very least) character-driven humanitarian organizations that instill boys to accept responsibility, lead in truth and tenderness, be disciplined, and love sacrificially. It is important to differentiate this tribe from a peer group though it may include peers. A tribe is intergenerational. A tribe includes older, wiser, more-experienced men as well as (ideally) their sons/grandsons or perceived peers of your boy(s). This is the biblical model given to us: 2 Timothy 2:1-2 – “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, (2) and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
-Rites of passage.
Within the context of their tribe, there should be various rites of passage that both recognize/honor the boy as a man while simultaneously calling/commissioning him as a man. This is a tricky task but it is important to be public or simply within the tribe. It should not involve any sort of shame or have any sense of insincerity. If possible the boy’s father should give his blessing (at Jesus’ baptism God the Father declared in Matthew 3:17, “this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased”). If not his own dad, or perhaps in addition to his own dad, another fatherly-like-man who is respected within the tribe should share these words. It is both a blessing and a charge, an expression of favor and a call to display this favor to others.
–Age of Opportunity
by Paul David Tripp – if you have teens or soon will buy this book and read it. It is the best book on raising teens.
–That’s My Teenage Son
by Rick Johnson – I got this free in Kindle format, it does a good job addressing specific needs of preteen/teen boys and has specific practical ideas for mom’s. Not the most gospel-centered but certainly from writing from a biblical paradigm.
Comprehensive Biblical Study of Theological Issues with Practical Considerations:
God, Marriage, & Family
by Andreas J. Kostenberger – a thorough overview of the entire biblical teaching on marriage, sex, divorce, parenting, and family with chapters on special issues – excellent resource!