How to Raise a Gentleman

A son who is a gentleman is every mom’s dream. You imagine a dapper, handsome and charming boy sweeping everyone off their feet with his awesome gentleman qualities. Right? Isn’t that how it is in real life? Maybe not. And truthfully even if you did an amazing job raising your son, it still is not likely to be reality. But don’t give up all hope. I have watched many parents raise some great boys who I would readily call gentleman. It may not be as mysterious as some think. So how can you increase the odds that your son will turn out to be a gentleman? Here are a few items to think about. Continue reading

5 Things Only An Adoptive Dad Can Give His Son

When I have listened to people talk about the adoption process I have huge respect for them. Countless hours of research, paperwork, meetings and interviews. And despite the huge mountain to climb often friends and family openly question why anyone would want to adopt “someone else’s problem” or a baby one doesn’t know much about.

Dad’s who have adopted – you are so very important to your son. Keeping your marriage strong, setting an example for your son may take a huge amount of work, but it is well worth it! Thank you for all you have done, not just for your boy, but for his future generations and for our society as a whole. You are so vital and so important.

Let me encourage you to continue to invest in your son. Here are 5 things only an adoptive dad can give his son: Continue reading

Boys, Grandparents and A Deck of Playing Cards = Magic

boys_playing_cards_3Sometimes older boys, especially those entering the teen years seem to have little in common with their grandparents. Except for dinner time many boys do not naturally engage with their grandparents.

Since all boys like to conquer and competition is a close cousin, many boys like a good game that allows them to compete. Since grandparents are unlikely to pick up the X-Box some sort of compromise is needed. Enter a Deck of Playing Cards!

Then watch the magic! Continue reading

5 Things Only A Biological Father Can Give His Son

Over the last few decades I have watched as the cultural image and respect for fathers has eroded. With record breaking numbers of children being born out of wedlock and a discouraging number being raised without their fathers present or engaged our culture continues to suffer the consequences of fatherless homes.

For those fathers who have chosen traditional marriage along with prioritizing, working on and creating a stable home, thank you! Let me further encourage you to take a look at the list below and make sure you provide what only you can. Here are 5 things only you are able to give your son. Continue reading

A Boy’s First Bow and Arrow


This project is very simple even for the Dad who hates to build things.

All toys should be dead until touched by a child. A toy’s only purpose should come from the consequence of the physical manipulation and imagination of a child.  If it moves, makes noises, flashes or can operate on its own it is not a toy but a form of entertainment. Our boys do not need any more entertainment. They need imaginative play! They need toys that naturally engage them in play.

Perhaps because I am reading Summer of Two Worlds by J. Arthur Moore about a boy who was raised by American Indians that I thought of how fun it was for me as a child to play with bow and arrows. I can remember spending many a day shooting homemade arrows at cans and seeing how far I could get an arrow to fly.

The bow and arrow is a great toy for boys.But I know Moms want one that is safe, especially for younger boys. So I have gone out and looked around to find how to make a safe, simple, fun bow and arrow.

Here is a great DIY project, perfect for a dad, even without great tool skills. For that matter you don’t even need loads of tools. You will need a saw. I think most dads can handle that!

Check it out! Continue reading

Boys Need Affection

Several months ago I wrote an article on my Parenting blog, a post entitled 7 Words of Advice for Raising a Son.

The first of the 7 “words” of advice contained in the article states that a boy need loads of affection from his Parents. I said:

“When it comes to affection – love on them just as much as any girl. Some boys will want to cuddle, some will love being tickled and hung upside down. Some boys love to bump and bang and wrestle with dad, but they all need hugs and kisses! If anyone tries to tell you boys do not need loads of affection run from their advice.”

When I talk to parents about their sons and affection I usually hear two different concerns. Continue reading

Backyard Camping Adventure

I loved to camp in my backyard when I was a boy. OK, we owned an acre that was half wooded. We were the last house on a dead end street where a car driving on the street was a major event. So we were a bit secluded. But as an adult we lived in a typical Midwestern neighborhood with rows of houses but still allowed our children to camp in the backyard. So unlike my childhood camping, with fire on the ground and wooded seclusion, my kids were in tents on a manicured lawn. But they still had fun!

Decide on the following. Continue reading

Sticks and Stones – Toys and Treasures

Most children start out liking to play outside. There seems to be a natural desire to be out and about. But for many children this natural desire is slowly suppressed and supplanted. Just like killing off our natural taste buds with gobs of white processed sugar has cursed our nation’s citizens to unprecedented health issues and record numbers of children, teens and adults getting diabetes, I fear that similar consequences due to too much inside activity will lead to the dying of creativity, drive for discovery and satisfaction for accomplishing hard work. Especially among our boys.


However, my fear, just as a food industry’s response to unhealthy food like the Hostess Twinkie, the alternatives are not much better. Too many parents have turned to Pinterest and think outside activities have to be elaborate or staged events. Continue reading

A Boy and His Pocket Knife

When my kids were toddlers and I would help set the table my wife would tell me “only pour as much water as you are willing to clean up.”
Her advice proved to be wise as my children spilled their water many times. But her advice continued to be true well beyond the sippy-cup to drinking glass transition. Over and over I used her advice and would think about the truth of calculated risks.

Calculated Risks. Often worth taking.

Unfortunately when it comes to today’s child parents seem more concerned about any possible risks rather than calculated risks. Even when chances are extremely small, some parents simply won’t take the risk. With such restrictive views, our children are missing out on so many opportunities, including owning and using pocket knives. Continue reading