Risk and Reward
Posted by Melanie in Boyhood, Heroes, History, Manly Virtues

Most of us have been frustrated at some time or another by our boy’s love of risk-taking and adventure. They seem to do the craziest things and seldom think enough about them first. As a mom, I want to protect them and coddle them and keep them completely safe. What they need, though, is balance!

Martyr's Memorial, Oxford by John Calvin Young The stones in the middle of the street mark the spot Latimer and Ridley were martyred.

Martyr’s Memorial, Oxford by John Calvin Young
The stones in the middle of the street mark the site of the martyrdom of Latimer and Ridley.

You see, we want our men to be ambitious and bold, to take reasonable risks that will make them successful in life. A man afraid of risks will have difficulty finding a wife, succeeding in business, or reaching out for Christ. Unfortunately, boldness and adventurousness in a boy often looks like sliding down the stairs on a box lid. (Good thing his head was harder than drywall! It took awhile for him to earn the money to fix it, but he learned a little caution.) It’s our job as mothers to help them figure this out. We learn to bite our tongues and let them be adventurous and they learn to engage the brain before the body.

God made our guys adventurous, bold, and courageous. They need to learn to think before they act and to make sure the risk is worth the reward. Ultimately, they shouldn’t risk their lives unless it’s for something worth dying for.

I thought of this today when our eldest son, John Calvin, who is in Oxford, England this week posted a picture of the Martyr’s Memorial there. Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were godly pastors. Ridley was Bishop of London and was known for encouraging Scripture memory among his parishioners. Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, taught that the English Bible should be known among the people and that they should serve God from their hearts and not as a matter of outward show. He was known for visiting the prisoners in his area. These men, though, were protestants and their sovereign, Queen Mary, was not. They were sentenced to be burned at the stake.

The burning was bungled and the men suffered horribly. As he died, Latimer cried out to Ridley,

“Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

And so they did. The light of their testimony impacted all of England, and Scotland, and influenced those who sought asylum in the New World, the Pilgrims and Puritans.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I have no desire for my boys to become martyrs! I don’t think any mother could.┬áIf God calls them to that, though, I hope they will glorify God like Latimer and Ridley. Those were real men!


Melanie Winter Pic (c)2010 John Calvin Young



For more on reaching this balance, read our book, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys, 2011 Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year. There’s a whole chapter on this topic!

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