5 Things I’ll Teach My Son

I can't protect him from the ugliness in our culture. But I can prepare him to remain faithful in the midst of it.

By Liberty McArtor Published on October 11, 2018

In just a few days my first son will be one month old. When I finally glimpsed back into the realm of current events after his birth, all the depravity I’m used to seeing was still there. But it hit me different this time. This is the world my son will grow up in. I have to think about his future now as well as my own.

Even though I want to protect him from the ugliness that surrounds us, I can’t. But I can prepare him spiritually to remain faithful in a culture marred by corruption.

So as my infant boy grows into a young man in the years to come, here are five life lessons, rooted in God’s Word, I wish to impart.

1. Know the Why Behind the What

A study last year showed that only 4 percent of my generation holds a biblical worldview. Pew Research Center finds that my fellow Millennials are increasingly religiously unaffiliated. If in the past people generally agreed on basic principles of morality, that’s no longer the case.

So it’s not enough to merely teach my son what’s right and wrong, because society will challenge the truth I teach him at every turn. I have to teach him the why behind the truth.

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I want him to be able to clearly articulate the truth when someone asks. To successfully defend it when it’s challenged. And to effectively share the truth with those who need it.

If he knows the truth and understands why it’s true, he’ll be able to stand strong in a world of moral confusion.

2. Be a Bridge Builder

Our nation is divided, over politics, over cultures, over experiences. It’s easiest to avoid and even disdain those who think differently than we do.

That’s not how I want to raise my son. When we keep our distance from those who are different, we miss out on opportunities to emulate Jesus. He didn’t stoke the divisions of his day. He brought people previously divided over cultures, class and beliefs together in his name.

That’s what I want for my son. To be kind to those who disdain what he stands for. To listen to people he disagrees with. To befriend those who are different. In so doing, he’ll build bridges where there were once rifts, bringing people together instead of further driving them apart.

3. Keep a Clear Conscience

1 Thessalonians 5:22 warns Christians to avoid the appearance of evil. While has always been wise advice, modern technology’s permanent memory magnifies its prudence.

It’s not enough to merely teach my son what’s right and wrong, because society will challenge the truth I teach him at every turn. I have to teach him the why behind the truth.

So I’ll teach my son to live as if at some point, someone will dig up every detail about his past. They’ll attempt to smear his name, reputation, and Christian witness. If he keeps a “clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander,” he needn’t worry. (1 Peter 3:16)

4. Trust Not in Princes

Today politicians, celebrities, and leaders of movements are more than just role models. They’re idols, made that way by a nation turning away from God and desperately seeking new heroes to worship.

Even Christians can fall into the trap of idolizing human heroes. This happens when we place people on pedestals they don’t deserve, telling ourselves they’ll solve all our problems, rather than relying on God. In the end, we will always be disappointed with human heroes.

So I’ll teach my son to “put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” I’ll teach him to cast all his hope and trust in God alone. That way he’ll never have false expectations about what another person can accomplish for him. His faith won’t be shaken when a leader, even of the faith, inevitably fails. And he won’t lose hope when his personal heroes let him down.

As Isaiah 49:23 says, “Then you will know that I am the Lordthose who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

5. Be Strong and Courageous

Real strength and authentic courage are rare these days. Bullying is often mistaken for strength, and virtue signaling masquerades as real courage. It’s tempting to adopt these false versions of strength and courage, and revel in the public accolades that come with them. But that’s not what I want for my son.

I want him to understand that real strength is knowing when to be gentle, lead quietly and live meekly. To understand that real acts of courage aren’t usually praised, if they’re seen at all.

When his beliefs are challenged; when others are unkind; when people attempt to destroy him; when those he admires fall, he’ll need that kind of strength and courage — the kind rooted in the Lord.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

These are the lessons I want to teach my son. I know I won’t be able to shield him from the world’s depravity. He’ll likely face times of hardship and doubt. But if he takes these lessons to heart, I have confidence that he can withstand those times, remain faithful, and be a light in the darkness.

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  • begroeg

    Good advice for every mother with a son. With a mother like you, I’m sure he’ll grow up to be a fine young man.

  • Athena771

    I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but to the author of this article, if this world is so depraved and ugly, why bring another human being into this world?

    Why would anyone want to inflict that on anyone really?

    If you are so worried and concerned about the depravity of this world, why bring another human into it?

    I honestly cannot wrap my head around why the urge to have children, i really don’t.

    As a woman of 42 i never have had the desire to bring children into this world, when mostly everyone comes into this world to suffer and to be corrupted by it.

    If anyone thinks that their child is the exception and will not be corrupted, they are deluding themselves.

    I guess i am too much of a realist.

    • Gerrard

      Why?? Because we are called and because life is sacred. Becoming a parent is one of the greatest acts of hope, courage and self-sacrifice that any of us gets to choose.

      • Athena771

        well to each its own i guess, i say no thank you.

    • Kevin Carr

      Those of us that have children don’t live in a fantasy world. God told us to be fruitful, he tells us children are a blessing from him. In that regard you don’t know what you missed. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

      • Athena771

        I don’t care what i have missed, i am quite content with not being a parent, i would not trade what i have now for the world either.

        • Kevin Carr

          That is perfectly fine, but why be disapproving of us that choose to have children? Our hope doesn’t rest with humanity, it rests in Christ, this world is not all there is.

          • Athena771

            i don’t disapprove, i was just commenting on the article, how someone seems so concerned about the ugliness of the world, and yet proceeds to bring a child into it anyway.

    • Ray

      Athena771,
      Do you believe that with the help of God, by his grace, that some people can do more good than evil in this world?

      • Athena771

        Yes but that does not change the fact that it is an ugly world to bring another person into, suffering is a given.

    • Nanita Staley

      The desire for children is a natural drive that God Himself put deep within us. He said, “Be fruitful and multiply”. No matter how evil the world may be, it always has been, God wants His children to fill the earth and bring His love and peace here to show others the right way to live. Is life tough? It certainly is but we were put on this earth to overcome evil and to walk like Jesus walked, His hand outstretched to everyone around Him.
      He showed us how to live in victory in this earth. Your soul has been ravaged by your life circumstances and you are being defrauded of your life purpose by yielding to fear and a victim mentality. Rise up and take your life back! You only get one chance! Everyone of us makes mistakes but, with the help of the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide you can begin to find the path to a successful life, one where your life matters as it touches and impacts the lives of others. Ask God to send the help you so desperately need. You need Jesus! He is standing right beside you – just ask Him for the help you need to find your way! Blessings and Love in the Name of Jesus!

      • Athena771

        I am very happy with my life without children, thank you very much.

  • Grn724

    Jesus: A Cause of Division.*
    49“ I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

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