In May 2001, we published a book called Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family. A top question many homeschooling families were asking at that time was: How can my sons get good jobs with a homeschool education? Because two of our sons had been taught at home throughout their school years, and because they were earning incomes that could support a family, we wanted to share what we had learned. It was our desire to encourage other families to stay the homeschooling course and to prepare their sons for their futures. That question is as pertinent today as it was then, and Preparing Sons is every bit as important and applicable as it was 13 years ago, maybe more so.
The information in Preparing Sons begins with ages 3 to 6, moves to 7 to 12, then 13 to graduation, and finally post-high school. There is so much in that book that is practical and easily implemented. Families whose sons were in their teens when they bought Preparing Sons now have sons who are in their late twenties to early thirties. Many of those families read that book and set it aside, continuing to live just as they had been living. Now in some of those families there are sons who are struggling needlessly in adulthood. Had their parents caught the vision presented in Preparing Sons, their sons might be in a better position to support a wife and children. It was within the power of the parents to give their sons the tools in their youth that would have smoothed their way to adulthood.
Then there were other families who read Preparing Sons and said, “We want to do this! We desire this outcome for our sons.” With the Lord, they developed a vision for their sons. They made changes, and they prepared their sons not to be children forever but to be responsible, capable adults. Today they see the positive fruit in their young adult sons’ lives.
We wonder what the outcome would have been if every family who read Preparing Sons decided to follow the advice it contained. How many young men would be free of addictions to entertainment? How many would have hearts to serve the Lord Jesus Christ rather than self? How many of them would have their own businesses? How many of them would own a debt-free house?
We think each of you has a desire for your sons to grow to manhood as virtuous, industrious men of God. What are you doing to facilitate that outcome? At almost every conference we hold, we meet moms who share with us about a husband who is a slave to video games, movies, or other forms of entertainment. How are you raising your children so that they will transition at the appropriate time from being a child to being a man?
When our boys became teens, we wanted to direct their time usage into profitable pursuits. Their childhood playtime was replaced by activities that were productive. Of course they had school that took up much of their day. They might spend other time practicing an instrument, doing lawn maintenance or other chores, and especially important was developing marketable skills. Our youngest son says in hindsight, he wishes he had learned even more vocational skills than he did during his youth.
We followed that pattern with all of our sons. The results were good. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
Our children have appreciated the direction we encouraged them to take as they moved into their teen years. They don’t wish they had spent their teen years involved in entertainment. They see the outcome in their adult lives and are satisfied with the way their teen years were spent.
Time invested in productive pursuits during youth reaps positive benefits not only during those years but throughout their lives. We give our children purpose when they are teens by helping them be productive with their time. We can encourage them toward ministering and studying, while developing and utilizing skills that can be used to generate income in the present and in the future.
So many of the youth of today are hopeless. They don’t know Jesus Christ, and they have no purpose. Their lives are sadly out of control. Many are on anti-depressants. They have nothing worth living for, and they become overwhelmed with the emptiness of their lives.
Your children don’t have to be like that. You can turn the teen years into an exciting time, filled with responsibility and productivity with the accompanying outcome of satisfaction in their lives.
We have released another book called Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son. In that book, we trace a path that parents can take to facilitate their son’s ability to purchase a debt-free house before he is 30. We want to see all of your sons do what our three older sons have done, with their two younger brothers following closely behind: own debt-free houses when they are married.
You love your children. What is your vision for them? Is it a big vision? Ours was. Twenty years ago most would have told us it was impossible to achieve the vision we had for our sons. It wasn’t—not for our sons, not for the other young men whose stories we share, and it doesn’t have to be for your sons.
If you have a son who is currently 13 years or older, will he own a house with no mortgage before he is 30? Can you instill that desire in your little boys who are only 5 or 6? The choice is yours. We want to set this generation of young men on fire for having real purpose in life with the side benefit of debt-free living. What do you want for your sons? Will you accept the challenge?