The definition of what it means to be a man has changed immensely in our society over the years, especially as of late. Depending on who you ask, this answer can include a lot of different expectations and opinions. Dave Willis, relationship coach, author of Raising Boys Who Respect Girls and television host for MarriageToday, dives deep into the struggles men are encountering today and how to combat the tendency of our society to minimize the importance of this conversation.
What do you connote with masculinity and manhood? Dave Willis discusses what it means to follow God with one’s heart and mind in what can be a confusing culture for males.
He describes how boys are very often exposed to explicit images and messages early. Parents, and particularly, fathers, must be prepared to have “the talk” in an ongoing fashion as children are faced with situations and questions to work through.
“When those moments come, we have to be ready to walk through it and do it in a way that shows grace. If we’ll stay close and stay engaged with what they’re going through and carve out time each day with each of them, over time, the cumulative effect of those conversations makes you a safe place for them to share. Don’t let your first response be shock or horror – listen in a grace-filled way.”
Jeremiah emphasizes the importance of parents living out what children should emulate. The best training for godliness is found in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Boys need to understand that innate masculinity is valuable and needed, Dave says.
“I think our boys are growing up without a clear vision of what it means to be a man. Their God-given masculinity is a gift to them and to the world. If we will let God’s Word be the lens by which we look at ourselves and by which we judge right and wrong, then we have the answers already.”
God created mankind in His image, and He has equipped men with specific strengths to be used for His glory.
Dave Willis is a pastor and author, known for his expertise in issues related to marriage and family. His latest book is “Raising Boys Who Respect Girls: Upending Locker Room Mentality, Blind Spots, and Unintended Sexism.”