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Virtues Make the Transition to Manhood Possible

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Dr. Meg Meeker

Boys should, indeed, be boys.

But boys who drink, take drugs, and have sex outside of marriage aren’t “normal” teenagers; rather, they have been abnormally socialized by our unfortunately toxic culture. Today, in my pediatric practice, I must deal with an epidemic of serious, even life-threatening, problems in boys—both physical and psychological—that were of comparatively minor concern only forty years ago.

A healthy boy strives after virtues like integrity, courage, and self-control. In fact, it is virtues like these that make a boy’s transition to manhood possible. They are necessary virtues, and he needs your help to acquire them.

If you want your son to be a courageous man, begin training him now:

  • If you believe that he will live a happier life if he is honest, crush deceitfulness in him immediately.
  • If you want him to be respected and honored for his character, teach him humility.
  • And if you want him to use his masculinity constructively, teach him that strength, courtesy, and respect go together.

Every boy needs schooling in virtues in order to become a great man. And any parent can school his son because at the heart of virtue lies masculine intuition. Parents don’t have to construct the virtues and then pour them into the hearts of their sons. The virtues are there, but in small fragments that must be cleared, shaped and polished.

The great burden for parents is finding time to teach their sons. Haste is the enemy of virtue, because it gives us no time to discuss, think, wonder, or pray; it forces us to push our boys to perform when we should be working with them.

So give time back to your son. Give him time to dream. Encourage him to question and to think. Boys must have time to think upon virtues before they embrace them. Otherwise, virtues become nothing more than disposable outer layers of clothing, which a boy can put on or off, depending upon his mood.

But real virtues are not disposable—they are kneaded into the character of the boy.

This post is adapted from Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

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Feeling a a bit uneasy about having "the talk" with your son or daughter?
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