What a Son Needs From His Dad: How a Man Prepares His Sons for Life
When I became pregnant with my first, I hoped for a boy. Girls scared me. I grew up a tomboy with two older brothers. They, between the two of them, have produced five boys and no girls. My little knowledge of children comes from my nephews. They were a lot of fun and enjoyed rough and tough boy things. I can handle that. Deep down I knew I was having a girl and it scared me. (Yes, my first child is a girl.)
My daughter and I seemed to bond instantly and I felt I understood her. I know how to meet her needs, understood what she wanted and how to comfort her. She was a very difficult baby in the sense she was high needs (she cried/fussed/screamed literally 24/7 her first month on this earth), but I just knew what she needed.
So when I became pregnant with number two, I was suddenly scared that it would be a boy. Maybe I didn't understand them as well as I thought I did. My gut was telling me this one was a boy, which was confirmed with an ultrasound. When he was born, I felt like a first time mom all over again. Turns out the holding and the cuddling his big sister craved wasn't what this little guy wanted. I remember telling him, both of us in the midst of tears, "I don't know what to do to make you happy." I couldn't figure him out and it did put a damper on our bonding. I was so convinced he wasn't too impressed with having me as his mom.
So when Bethany House offered this book, I jumped at it. Even though I am "mom," and not "dad," I figured it couldn't hurt to gain a bit of insight on boys. (Truly, they are weird creatures.)
Reading this book, it seemed a lot of this is basic, common knowledge of information for child rearing. Some can be applied to a daughter as well. However, if we stop and take a look at our society, and understand that a good portion of our chaos is due to parental choices, well, it's easy to conclude that maybe we as parents aren't making the best choices when it comes to raising children. All choices have consequences. Some consequences are negative, while some are positive.
O'Donnell emphasizes that fathers have a very important role in their children's lives. With sons, fathers have to be the role that they want their sons to emulate. O'Donnell outlines seven core issues that they must live, to help develop them in their sons:
1) develop disciples of Christ
2) good citizens
3) holders of worthy vocations; responsible workers
4) chooser of good friends
5) able to enjoy life
6) sexually chaste; understanding of male sexuality; avoiding the hazards of pornography
7) lovers of their wives; supporters of their marriages
One thing that I loved about this book is that O'Donnell also outlined stages of development in a boy. These stages begin in birth and end at old age with the knowledge of impending death. Stage 1 is Trust vs. Mistrust, which is from birth to eighteen months. A baby learns to trust by having a predictable, nurturing environment. (All the more reason why I refuse to let my babies 'cry-it-out'--but that's another blog post for another blog.) This, for me, has confirmed that I was correct in following my instincts with my children despite all the flack I received from other people.
For my secular readers, this is a Christian book with foundations in Christ. So, in addition of being a dad who is emotionally and physically present to your son, the book goes beyond that. It teaches dads to instill strong, spiritual, Christ-like character in their sons. And to do that, you must live what you preach.
As a mom, this really didn't help me to understand my son more. But maybe it's because I'm female that I don't fully get it. Maybe there is more there that a dad can connect with, look at his own life, and see what he can do to shape his son's life in a positive way.
This book does not have all the answers. But I think it's a wonderful place to start for dads looking for direction with their sons.
May 5, 2012
My husband loved this book. Lots of good reading. A great book for any dad with sons.
April 17, 2012
Very simplistic lesson
I was a bit disappointed in this book. It didn't seem to have the "oomph" I was looking for. Books like these always seem to have a secret recipe, magic bullet, or one secret to life we're all missing. The secret recipe this book teaches is very simple - be a good role model for your son. It's such a simple premise that I think it was difficult for O'Donnell to stretch the book out any longer than its slim 137 pages.
To the book's credit, I will say it's organization and structure is superb. After the opening chapters, which set up the whole point of "be a good role model", the book specifically looks at what a good role model looks like in terms of work ethic, citizenship, marriage relationships and intimacy, to name a few. Each chapter also ends with a few discussion questions, which are good for personal or group study.
February 17, 2012
Great for Fathers
No one can prepare a son for life better than his father. Dads are role models and this book encourages fathers to grow into the kind of men they want their sons to become.
What A Son Needs From His Dad: How A Man Prepares His Sons for Life is a book written specifically to fathers about their role in the family and more specifically in the lives of their sons. This book is a very easy read at only 141 pages and ten chapters. Each chapter addresses areas that are important to instill in the life of a son such as character development, choosing friends, how to be productive and raising industrious sons who have a skill or trade they are good at. The end of each chapter contains a "Thoughts and Discussions" section so your husband can spend some meditative time thinking about what he has read and how to put it into practice in everyday life with his sons.
As a Mom, I will never be able to understand my son the way my husband can. I am thankful that my son will have a Godly father to look up to and share life with because he will be able to relate to him in ways I can't. This book even equips the men in our lives to talk to their sons about hard topics like "the birds and the bees", how to treat women and eventually (hopefully) one day a wife, etc. This book also reminds our husbands what "true" fatherhood is and encourages them to be the kind of father the Bible speaks about.
This would be a wonderful book for any man who has a son because it not only reminds them about their role as the father but it helps show them how to develop a relationship with their son that will last for many years to come. What A Son Needs From His Dad is available through Bethany House Publishers for just $9.99.
February 12, 2012