Becoming a Man: Part 2

To read part 1, click here

We can help boys become responsible men. How?

Help his eyes actually see. Youth benefit when they learn to see, not just watch. One youth work exercise commonly used is called “observation training.” For example: look at this picture for one minute. 

Now, answer these questions… What color was Darth Vader’s light saber? How many humans were in the photo? Teaching kids to look and see can be fun but it also equips them to identify what needs to be done. 

A grandparent, like a youth-worker, walks beside the youth and then asks, what should we do to help? It’s tempting to complain about politics and sports, taxes and cultural collapse. It’s better to talk about the things you and he can affect. Help him identify what is necessary to bring order or beauty to a room, a closet, the garage. Then help him work towards implementing his vision. 

Give him real work. Midway through college, I participated in a program called Detroit Summer Outreach. I showed up, was given a 15-passenger van, 3 assistant staff, and a team of 8 high-schoolers. My job was to get them to various work sites all over the city, plan our work day, and motivate the team. When I got the keys to the van, I felt the real weight of responsibility: if I couldn’t figure out how to make this thing work, it wasn’t going to get done. That was the first time I had a job with real consequences. 

Grandpa, your grandson isn’t growing up on a farm with lots of ready opportunities for real work – but there are many amazing opportunities like the one I experienced. Look for them, and offer to help pay for the ones that will give your grandson real work, real authority, and real responsibility.

Encourage him. Literally: give him courage. Don’t just tell him he’s a good kid, impress upon him your belief that he has an important part to play in your family, your country, and the Kingdom of God. Help him to see the challenges of his day and that he has a role to fill in overcoming them.  

For Discussion: What was your history of gaining responsibility?

For Action: How can you give your grandson a responsibility that will help him mature? How can you help him take greater responsibility right where he is in his family or school?

James Munk is a full time youth worker for Kairos who lives in Lansing, Michigan.

Copyright © 2019 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.

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