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Future Men: Raising Boys to Fight Giants

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How do we build our sons to be tough but not arrogant? mannered but not soft? imaginative but not lazy? bold but not hollow? Future Men is a Christian guide to raising strong, virtuous sons, contrary to the effeminacy and sentimentalism of contemporary culture. When Theodore Roosevelt taught Sunday school for a time, a boy showed up one Sunday with a black eye. He admitted How do we build our sons to be tough but not arrogant? mannered but not soft? imaginative but not lazy? bold but not hollow? Future Men is a Christian guide to raising strong, virtuous sons, contrary to the effeminacy and sentimentalism of contemporary culture. When Theodore Roosevelt taught Sunday school for a time, a boy showed up one Sunday with a black eye. He admitted he had been fighting and on a Sunday too. He told the future president that a bigger boy had been pinching his sister, and so he fought him. TR told him that he had done perfectly right and gave him a dollar. The stodgy vestrymen thought this was a bit much, and so they let their exuberant Sunday school teacher go. What a loss. Unbelief cannot look past surfaces. Unbelief squashes; faith teaches. Faith takes a boy aside and tells him that this part of what he did was good, while the other part of what he did got in the way. "And this is how to do it better next time." As we look to Scripture for patterns of masculinity for our sons, we find them manifested perfectly in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who set the ultimate pattern for friendship, for courage, for faithfulness, and integrity.


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How do we build our sons to be tough but not arrogant? mannered but not soft? imaginative but not lazy? bold but not hollow? Future Men is a Christian guide to raising strong, virtuous sons, contrary to the effeminacy and sentimentalism of contemporary culture. When Theodore Roosevelt taught Sunday school for a time, a boy showed up one Sunday with a black eye. He admitted How do we build our sons to be tough but not arrogant? mannered but not soft? imaginative but not lazy? bold but not hollow? Future Men is a Christian guide to raising strong, virtuous sons, contrary to the effeminacy and sentimentalism of contemporary culture. When Theodore Roosevelt taught Sunday school for a time, a boy showed up one Sunday with a black eye. He admitted he had been fighting and on a Sunday too. He told the future president that a bigger boy had been pinching his sister, and so he fought him. TR told him that he had done perfectly right and gave him a dollar. The stodgy vestrymen thought this was a bit much, and so they let their exuberant Sunday school teacher go. What a loss. Unbelief cannot look past surfaces. Unbelief squashes; faith teaches. Faith takes a boy aside and tells him that this part of what he did was good, while the other part of what he did got in the way. "And this is how to do it better next time." As we look to Scripture for patterns of masculinity for our sons, we find them manifested perfectly in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who set the ultimate pattern for friendship, for courage, for faithfulness, and integrity.

30 review for Future Men: Raising Boys to Fight Giants

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    About half way through this book I realized Doug Wilson wasn't going to provide a "how-to" for his readers on raising boys to be godly men. The examples from his own family were few and far between. What he did provide, once I had the ears to hear, was a thoroughly biblical foundation for raising good men. The outcome was far more helpful than a book of "10 tricks for effective parenting". Once rooted in biblical principles, the Spirit can and will guide parents in the day to day discipline and d About half way through this book I realized Doug Wilson wasn't going to provide a "how-to" for his readers on raising boys to be godly men. The examples from his own family were few and far between. What he did provide, once I had the ears to hear, was a thoroughly biblical foundation for raising good men. The outcome was far more helpful than a book of "10 tricks for effective parenting". Once rooted in biblical principles, the Spirit can and will guide parents in the day to day discipline and discipleship of their sons. Wilson has provided a cogent and biblically faithful vision on manhood and parental responsibility. One of the most helpful principles for me was the idea that just as Proverbs repeatedly calls sons to listen to wisdom, so too we should expect that we'll need to call our sons to listen, and to listen again. We shouldn't be discouraged as parents when we find ourselves rehearsing the same lessons again and again with our boys. This type of ongoing instruction and discipline is the way we learn, what's more, it is the way God teaches us.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    For boy moms, this is a very helpful read. Loaded with scripture, and he discusses topics that seem weighty and confusing to me. I've dog-eared a lot of the pages and chapters for me to return to as my sons grow older. Loved it, and I'm very thankful to have gleaned from Douglas Wilson. For boy moms, this is a very helpful read. Loaded with scripture, and he discusses topics that seem weighty and confusing to me. I've dog-eared a lot of the pages and chapters for me to return to as my sons grow older. Loved it, and I'm very thankful to have gleaned from Douglas Wilson.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leandro Dutra

    This is a very good and useful book. Loses a star (it would have lost only half a star, were that possible) for its somewhat cavalier usage of the Bible, with some minor occurrences of eixegesis, that is, taking (Biblical) texts out of context and giving it unwarranted interpretations. Sets a high standard for raising boys. I do feel I fall short, and pray God will supply my many faults in raising my son.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    Adventurous. Visionary. Patient. Careful. Hardworking. Strong. Sacrificial. Courageous. Good. Teachable. Studious. Thoughtful. Representative. Responsible. Holy. These are the adjectives we want to be able to ascribe to our sons, because they describe the kind of men we want leading our families and churches. Rather than writing a full review, I’ll just highlight the parts I found this most insightful. Wilson starts out this book by distinguishing true masculinity from counterfeit masculinity—a Adventurous. Visionary. Patient. Careful. Hardworking. Strong. Sacrificial. Courageous. Good. Teachable. Studious. Thoughtful. Representative. Responsible. Holy. These are the adjectives we want to be able to ascribe to our sons, because they describe the kind of men we want leading our families and churches. Rather than writing a full review, I’ll just highlight the parts I found this most insightful. Wilson starts out this book by distinguishing true masculinity from counterfeit masculinity—a much needed clarification in today’s culture, which can’t understand masculinity as being anything other than “toxic.” “True masculinity,” DW writes, “accepts responsibility, period, while false masculinity will try to accept responsibility only for success.” While counterfeit masculinity “excels at making excuses” because it is a matter of pride, scriptural masculinity is defined by a refusal to make excuses (22). Confession and repentance are therefore right at the heart of true masculinity. What a paradigm shift from how the world defines masculinity! One of the most important points DW makes, I think, is the fact that we need to see our small boys as future men, and raise them according to that vision. This raises the stakes for parental discipline. A child’s sins will one day turn into a man’s sins. Thus, “a boy who is not obviously learning self-control with regard to his temper, his stomach, his video games, or his school work is a boy who will still lack self-control when sexual temptation arrives” (84). We must have this long-run perspective if we want our sons to become holy men. Another key element of this book is its reliance on Proverbs, which DW cites as a “treasury of instruction for parents of boys” (185). One theme in particular shows up again and again in Proverbs: the fact that a boy must be teachable. With this in mind, DW contends, “the first subject in the curriculum is to be teaching a son to hear” (188). I found this point helpful for identifying the starting point of parental discipline. Overall, I basically agree with DW’s vision for parenting but probably would ask him to clarify some of his provocative Chestertonian statements in the later chapters. I also am probably not quite as conservative as he is when it comes to dating/courtship. As a general rule, DW tends to state principles in very narrow terms which I think require great grace and discernment to actually put into practice—something to keep in mind when reading his work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Higgins

    If you are a man, are raising a man, or know a man, I cannot imagine better help to make a godly man than this book. That said, this is not for faint-hearted, effeminate readers. There may be some gristle to spit out while enjoying big bites of meat. -------------------- Read again May 2013. Really good. And important. We need more men to put on their pants and help their sons learn how to do the same.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Boyne

    This little book is one that I will likely go back to again and again through out the development of my son. Wilson provides excellent advice and a biblical worldview to raising boys in our current culture. Boys are very unique and need to be raised differently from girls in order for them to embrace the true potential that God has given them and Wilson works diligently to show that. I highly recommend this book to new fathers of sons as well as experienced parents.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    A book of Proverbs-laden truthiness. Good for anyone interested in what it is to be a man and not a woman.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Wittman

    Worth reading, even though I gave it three stars!!! I plan to pick up this book in a couple years to skim through it again to be reminded of some of his good perspectives. Wilson has some great over-arching principles about future men, I gleaned a lot from the opening chapter and the chapter on 'moms and sisters.' However, he fails often in his application of these principles, making things rather legalistic and fundamentalist because of his a patriarchal-colored lenses built on 1950s American s Worth reading, even though I gave it three stars!!! I plan to pick up this book in a couple years to skim through it again to be reminded of some of his good perspectives. Wilson has some great over-arching principles about future men, I gleaned a lot from the opening chapter and the chapter on 'moms and sisters.' However, he fails often in his application of these principles, making things rather legalistic and fundamentalist because of his a patriarchal-colored lenses built on 1950s American stereotypes. Examples of this are his conclusion that the domestic realm and its features are inherently feminine, as well as statements like boys take out the trash and girls wash the dishes. Weird and not biblically founded, and they don't match up with some of his better assertions about the ontological nature of men and women. Anyhoo. Good book, just don't swallow the thing whole.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David Nelson

    not my cup of tea. oh yea that would make me unmanly. While full of scriptural references this is the stuff that turns boys into zealots, lacking compassion or empathy and leading to chauvinism.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Ray

    Per usual, Wilson is accessible and succinct. A great read not only for parents of sons, but for young men looking for a theology of manhood. Will probably revisit and reference over the years as a father.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

    WARNING: The following statement is not to be understood as cliché or an overstatement, "this is the best book I have ever read about raising boys." Doug Wilson will challenge the way you think about raising boys and he does not pull any punches on the sensitive topics many authors tip-toe around. This book is theologically rich and full of biblical support. You will not agree with everything Wilson says but at the same time you will not be able to disagree with him. The content is directly appl WARNING: The following statement is not to be understood as cliché or an overstatement, "this is the best book I have ever read about raising boys." Doug Wilson will challenge the way you think about raising boys and he does not pull any punches on the sensitive topics many authors tip-toe around. This book is theologically rich and full of biblical support. You will not agree with everything Wilson says but at the same time you will not be able to disagree with him. The content is directly applicable to boys at any age, the earlier the better, and should be read by moms and dads alike. In fact, this gem is now in the hands of my dear wife. ~ Two thumbs up! Highest recommendation!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I liked this book much less than I thought I would. He was short on examples and long on his (frankly ridiculous) opinion of stereotypes. Ultimately not the book I'm looking for, but one I might read again. I liked this book much less than I thought I would. He was short on examples and long on his (frankly ridiculous) opinion of stereotypes. Ultimately not the book I'm looking for, but one I might read again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jake McAtee

    Fantastic. How to raise Dragon-slayers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Rush

    A very thorough and practical book on what it means to be train boys to be men. An essential read for those who will be fathers one day, and for young men who have a sneaking suspicion that what has been presented as masculinity in our churches and culture (in both the macho and effeminate ditches) is not the real deal.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Doornink

    This is going on my “read every year” shelf. It provides detailed, practical, visionary, Biblical advice on raising boys who are quickly becoming men. A thought that is equally thrilling and terrifying to me as a mom of three boys.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Funke

    Very good. This is an outstanding book at times, giving the framework of raising boys in light of what the Bible says about manhood. Some parts are better than others, and some I disagree with (understandable given that I'm a Baptist), but on the whole it's very good. Reading another Wilson book on the topic of children right now with my wife, and we're both enjoying that. Very good. This is an outstanding book at times, giving the framework of raising boys in light of what the Bible says about manhood. Some parts are better than others, and some I disagree with (understandable given that I'm a Baptist), but on the whole it's very good. Reading another Wilson book on the topic of children right now with my wife, and we're both enjoying that.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leah Douglas

    95% fantastic. Will probably read this every other year until I no longer have sons under our roof.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Awesome.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Hansen

    Clear concise read that has a lot of good thoughts for parenting boys. Particularly relevant for our day and age.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kyle M

    I’ve been a father to a son for over 8 years now, thinking I’ve been balancing well with all he needs to learn from me. Wow, was I wrong. Wilson takes a consistent look how we are to raise future men as God as clearly defined in scripture. Needless to say, I was wrecked by this book and have begun immediate changes in fathering my children, and teaching them how a husband SHOULD lead his wife and family (not perfectly... but how to strive).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Davey Ermold

    I would consider this a must-read for parents of boys. Wilson aptly writes about pressures facing boys in today’s culture, specifically the trend towards effeminacy. At the same time, it’s clear that Wilson’s views are impacted by his theonomy; his brash, aggressive tone frequently leading to subjective browbeating disguised as objective biblical truth. Read with discretion, but definitely read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben Wilson

    Throughout this book Douglass Wilson shows his mastery over scriptural proof and profound insight into the Bible. He takes a deep dive into boyhood and offers a thesis: boys are future men. This phrase could not be more true. Wilson explores what it means to raise a son according to the Christian faith. I would recommend this book to any father who hopes to have a son or already has one!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    3 stars because I feel like this book lacks consistent content. Some chapters were really helpful and well written and I will revisit them. Some chapters had a lot of cultural references I didn’t understand at all and heavy use of sarcasm with implied meanings I just couldn’t catch. The book felt like a collection from previous works with some hastily written additions, and not a stand alone thing, which is a problem for people reading this as their first (my second) Wilson book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

    Wilson provides a good overview of what boys need to learn to become good men; he does not here discuss how to teach them. So this book is a useful guide to understanding biblical manhood in order to set ones vision and values, but readers will need to look elsewhere for guidance on how to inculcate such values into their sons.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lendl Meyer

    A kick-in-the-pants-style reminder to look to God's word and ways in leading our families and raising our boys. A kick-in-the-pants-style reminder to look to God's word and ways in leading our families and raising our boys.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Parkison

    This is the most useful parenting book I’ve ever read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Bronson

    Don't recommend. Don't recommend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nate Hansen

    Very insightful.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brandi

    Didn’t agree with ALL the points but gave some wonderful insights & examples in a biblical way to raise my boys.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Odhiambo Achayo

    Wonderful book Wonderful book on raising boys to be responsible men. Addresses all aspects of parenting boys that every parent needs to pay attention to. Loved it

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