“Dad, Will You Teach Me What It Means to be A Man?”

Asian babyIf newborn boys could write a letter to their dad (or another father figure in their life), this is what I think that letter would say…

Dear Dad,

I am so small and new. But someday I want to be strong.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

Right now when I’m a baby, will you hold me and tell me you love me — and never stop doing that even as I grow up?

When I am about 3, start to show me how to open a door for a woman.  A car door.  A restaurant door.  Any door, really.  I’ll have been watching you do this for awhile, but I still need you to show me and give me many opportunities to practice.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

I’m going to fall down and get hurt. Most of the time, it won’t be that serious. You’d do me a world of good if you stood me up, brushed me off and sent me on my way. Or just ignored it.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

When I am about 5, start taking me along with you on errands.  Take me to the hardware store, the bank, the gas station. Let me see you interact with other men.  I know I’m small and I slow you down, but I’m taking it all in, Dad.

I’m looking around. I’m looking up to you.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

Let me see what a difference it makes when you say “thank you” to the waitress at the coffee shop… and “have a good day” to the cashier at the grocery store.

When we are around the house, let me be like you.  If you’re working with wood, let me have a piece to hammer on, too.  If you’re tinkering with tools, give me some of my own tools, too.  And if you take me to your office, give me my own paper and pencils.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

When I am about 7 or 8, start giving me some jobs.  Even if I grumble about taking the trash cans up to the curb, I need to know how to work.

The day’s coming when I’ll need solid work ethic, whether I work at a construction site, fire station, restaurant, office or hospital… or in a classroom… or in an art studio… or on a professional sports field.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

When I am about 11, will you show me how to mow the yard, change a tire and fill the car with gas.

And please give me grace when I need second, third and fourth chances to master it.  I’m still learning.  You’ve been filling the car with gas for years.  I’m just getting started, Dad.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

I don’t understand girls, Dad.  I’m guessing you don’t completely have them figured out either, but you are one of my best shots at getting this right.

Make it easy for me to come to you to ask questions and talk about girls.  I know it may seem like I don’t want to talk about these things, but keep bringing the conversation up with me, okay?

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

When I’m feeling awkward about my body… my acne, my growth spurts, my facial hair… please tell me this is all normal. Tell me it’s not a race to grow up and that every young man’s body matures at different rates.

Show me how to shave. Remind me to wear deodorant.  Make me take a shower, even when I don’t want to.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

Encourage me to embrace adventure and to take calculated risks.  Believe in me and my dreams and my God-given abilities.  Your belief in me is more powerful than you realize.

And when I occasionally fail, you’d do me a world of good if you stood me up, brushed me off and sent me on my way.

Remind me that my identity will always be in Christ.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

I need practical skills, Dad.  Show me how to manage money, time and commitments.   Teach me how to give a firm handshake. How to look someone in the eye. How to be confident without being cocky.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

Just about everything in society says it’s okay to disrespect women.  But I don’t want to be that guy.  I want to be the man who is humble, kind and generous… the man who would protect women with his very life. Please equip me to be that man.

If you and my mom are together as I grow up, be affectionate with her in front of me. Speak highly of her and tell her often that you love her.

Protect and honor her.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

Don’t wait too long to start talking to me about sex.  I need a lifetime of age-appropriate conversations, okay?  That “one-time” awkward talk isn’t going to cut it.

Will you set an expectation for me that I never put a young lady in a position that compromises her integrity or mine?  Help me believe that purity isn’t a lost ideal, but rather a realistic healthy choice for me.

Tell me to set the standard.

Help me be masculine, yet not obnoxious. Romantic, yet not clingy.

Will you teach me what it means to be a man?

And some day down the road, Dad, when I fall in love and find the girl who is the one, remind me what is at stake.

Teach me that the little things really are the big things.  And that she, our marriage and any kids we may have deserve a true man to lead them and love them.

Please teach me, Dad, to be that man.

Love, Your Son

Please share this post.  I cried when I wrote it because I think so much is at stake with the way we bring up future generations. And stay tuned for future posts coming in this series on how dads and moms impact their sons and daughters.

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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10 thoughts on ““Dad, Will You Teach Me What It Means to be A Man?”

  1. McKenzie says:

    Wow this is beautiful and amazing! Do you think you could do a post for the girls???

  2. JulieSibert says:

    @Jocelyn and @McKenzie… thanks for your comments! Yes @McKenzie… I am going to do one for the girls (letter from the Dad). Also going to do one for boys and girls (letters from the Mom). Stay tuned!

  3. Greg says:

    Excellent post! Like you shared, so desperately needed in today’s society and mindset. Love, discipline, respect, honor, responsibility, understanding… just a few of the things boys (and us men) need!

  4. Emily says:

    I would add that a true man should be prepared to be the sole provider for his family, allowing his wife to freely choose to be the primary care taker of their young children. As someone who worked in higher education for several years (before I myself started staying a home), I can attest to the majority of young men being no where near prepared or unselfish enough to make the necessary sacrifices for their future wife to make this choice. Unfortunately, parents keep their kids up all through out college. When they finally do graduate (after a/b 6 years for a 4 year degree), their starting salaries can in no way provide the same standard of living they have been used to. In order to maintain their former lifestyle, both husband and wife believe they will never be able to afford for her not to work. Small children need their mom, not more things or trips. Their own moms though bought in to the ‘career’ is everything and ‘I can have it all, all at once’ lie given to them by the feminist movement. Due to the guilt they felt for working all the time and leaving them to be raised by others, they over compensated by giving them everything their hearts desired. Consequently, the kids do not know how to deal with rejection or not getting what they want. It is not just the guys though. Many of my girls were so high maintenance and spoiled that no guy could possibly manage their expectations. Lets just say none of them would settle for less than a huge diamond (that no college guy could pay for on his own) as her engagement ring. Then her parents proceeded to provide her with no less than a 50K wedding and his parents, with a honeymoon to the Virgin Islands. It was pretty scary to see the issues with this generation and helped me see how important investing actual time with my children (and husband) really is. Lastly, when they completed their diploma information, the majority had to list two different addresses for their parents due to them being divorced.

  5. Greg says:

    @Emily: “It is not just the guys though. Many of my girls were so high maintenance and spoiled that no guy could possibly manage their expectations.”

    I think that’s one of the things single guys fear most–not being able to find a lady who simply accepts them as they are, without those unrealistic expectations.

  6. Single Mom says:

    I just came across this today it is so true. I spoke with my teenage son less than an hour ago; he is in jail. He has been angry since his father & separated, and I have tried to tell him his son needs him to do the very things this letter asks. My son told me he finally figured out his anger comes from NOT HAVING HIS DAD TEACH HIM HOW TO BE A MAN. Now I very much believe my son is responsible for his choices that have lead him to where he currently is. But I also know that dads have a responsibility to pour things into their sons that their sons desperately need in order to become the young men they desire to be, and unfortunately the majority of men in jails had no positive father figures in their lives. In my case I set up male mentors, but he still looked for his father’s love and approval, and still, even today, has no support from him.
    Fathers, realize the role you play in your son’s life is critical. Take it seriously. How you parent your son will greatly impact his life, for positive or negative.

  7. jay says:

    that was amazing I had a great father and grandfather who treated me like a princess but I was one of the few grandkids that had a father present in their lives and they turned out messed up their own choices but it still impacted them a cousin of mine(a guy) is doing the same thing his father did to him with his daughter which is not really being there for her he really gas a screwed perspective as what it means to be a man

  8. Texas guy says:

    I love this, everything about it. I would add that along with the sex talk; we need to talk about Porn. In the days where anything and everything is so easily accessible, boys need to know why Porn is bad and more importantly why it is not healthy. Along with that, talk to the boys about masturbation. If we are honest, we all know that every single boy will masturbate. I wish my dad would have explained it to me. Instead, I got into porn to go along with masturbation. If dad’s would get over themselves and have an akward conversation, it would save so many boys from the dangers of porn. Tell your sons it is okay to masturbate (shoot tell your daughters the same thing) but don’t do it with the aid of Porn or other materials (swimsuit magazines, Lingerie catalogs, etc etc). Learn about your body in a healthy way.

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