Sample Review 1

Sample Review 1  – (467 words)

“We should have seen it coming,” says the introduction.  Hal and Melanie Young discovered later that boys outnumber girls 2 to 1 in their family, all the way back to the Civil War.  They didn’t learn that until they’d had six boys of their own.  Their new book, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys, explains a thousand other things they learned along the way.

Billed as “a practical guide to equipping the hearts and minds of boys without breaking or losing your own,” Raising Real Men is a conversational walk through a long list of topics.  The Youngs, who have homeschooled their six boys (and two girls) “from the beginning,” offer a philosophy of child-rearing both thoughtful and affectionate, mixing family anecdote, passages from the Bible, and useful suggestions for parents finding their boys something of a challenge.

“God created boys to become men,”says Melanie.  “The behaviors we find exasperating in our sons – their energy, competitiveness, curiosity – are simply manly virtues in an immature form.”

“The challenge for parents of boys is to train them, not to tame them,” agrees Hal.  “We have to teach them how to properly handle their masculine gifts, not dampen them because they inconvenience us.  They’re not girls, and they’re not going to behave like girls unless we twist something in their basic framework.  The result will be a distortion of what they were intended to be.”

Raising Real Men deals with issues that may surprise parents with girls only, but are daily questions for families with boys.  Take the question of playing with toy guns.  Many mothers who aimed to raise their sons without “toys of violence” find their boys improvising weapons out of nearly anything – tree branches, scrap lumber, and even their sandwiches at lunch.

“If you son is looking for potato chips shaped like a gun, he’s trying to tell you something,” says Hal.

The chapter “Taking Up Arms” not only offers a practical approach to managing toy weapons – the Youngs allow toy guns but the boys are not allowed to “shoot” each other, for example – but a Biblical rationale for the proper use of force, whether for personal or national defense, law enforcement, or hunting for food or fur.  They’re pragmatic, too.  “God may have called your son to a military or police career.  Why shouldn’t he be able to role-play these careers like any other God-honoring profession?” they ask.

The Youngs’ boys currently range from age 7 to adult.  They freely admit the learning continues in their family, especially since the birth of their two daughters, ages 4 and infant.  “That is another study entirely,” they say.  In their quest to raise real men, though, the Youngs have seen the fruit, and they offer it up with humor, candor, and a lot of common sense.

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