April 27, 2010

Rebuilding a Concept of Virtuous Boyhood

The second session I attended at the homeschool convention was given by Doug Phillips from Vision Forum. What follows in this post are the notes I took from his session, which was in a very large room in which every chair was filled. Heather and I had to sit on the floor, in fact. So obviously it was a well-received topic! But unfortunately I was unable to see the Power Point slides that went along with his presentation, so my notes are probably not as organized as they could have been. As before, I will simply bullet the points.

* Like it or not, we are in an entertainment-driven culture full of ungodly violence, role reversals, and a watering down of the family.

* Boys are supposed to act like men!

* The modern priority for boys is to feed the flesh. Boys do not identify with their fathers--instead, they identify with rock stars, sports stars, and peer groups.

* Culture is religion externalized. We have an immature culture.

* Much of the communication in our culture is "verbal vomit," or inarticulate speech full of slang, verbal pauses, "like, you know, whatever and stuff."

* Noble boyhood involves relating properly to girls as sisters in Christ. Virtuous boys/men are protectors and defenders of women and sons of the King.

* Our culture is full of indecisive men who are molly-cuddled.

* Our mission: To train our boys to be mighty men of God. This involves 1) Sonship, 2) Nobility, 3) Wisdom, and 4) Dominion. (An example here is Captain John Smith.)

* Doctrine of Manliness: This involves the blessed man, the upright man, and another adjective man that I didn't catch. His point came from several Scriptures where men were exhorted to "be a man," or "brace yourself like a man," etc. (Examples: David speaking on his deathbed to Solomon, God answering Job out of the storm.)

* Duty is a guiding light for true manliness. It involves self-sacrifice for the weak, principle, and faith that overcomes fear.

* Quote from Teddy Roosevelt: "It is not the critic who counts...[much more than I could get]...the credit belongs to the man in the arena."

* Dare greatly! Peace? Ease? Entertainment? Fantasy? Is this what we are raising our boys for? If so, they will not be engaged in the world of work. Work, business, cause of Christ--this is what they need to strive for.

* Dream noble dreams for the real world.

* Sons: Do something important with your life! At age 15-16, sons should be thinking of themselves as men.

* Even at a young age on earth, Christ was about His Father's business.

* Another example: David. He spent most of his time AWAY from peer groups. His time was invested in hard work. He gained excellence in the Christian culture from an early age. He was about his father's business, and as he worked, both recreation and work became his physical salvation and prepared him for his work as a man. He played a harp, but he was also a warrior.

* Language--(remember the aforementioned "verbal vomit?!")--We need to get back to a language of honor and respect. Sons need to show honor and respect to fathers, but also it should go the other way: "This is my son, with whom I am well pleased."

* Self-discipline in language--use complete sentences! Make your words count. Watch the books you read! (Or let your boys read...)

* Then he talked a bit about developing a library of good literature to inspire boys and referenced Robert Ballantyne and G.A. Henty books. He said, "Boys need to encounter risks." Also, "How a boy responds to history helps to define his perspective about himself."

So, note to self...we need to check out those books! I've heard of the Henty books but not the Ballantyne ones. I think the Henty books are a little above where our boys are right now, but they are definitely on my list for future reading for our family!


As For Me and My House said...

OK, I didn't have time to read this whole blog...will get back to it in a few days BUT I have been receiving and ordering WONDERFUL products from the V.F. catalog for a few years and can attest to their encouragement of Virtuous Boyhood and Beautiful Girlhood! I have listened to several of Mr. Phillip's tapes as well as other stuff he has recommended....wonderful, encouraging stuff....was this your first introduction to him? I am so envious that you got to hear him in person. I just love to hear and see families promoting life, family, virtue, valor, beauty, etc...

Anonymous said...

I was recently listening to a broadcast of Grace to You (4/9/10) about being men and in the end raising men. He used the word fortitude -courage and strength and focused on 1 Corinthians 16:13. You might appreciate the text of the sermon: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/TMC72_Exercising-Your-Courage

I look forward to hearing about the rest of your adventures!