Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Raising Real Men

Very early in our love story, I told Dave I wanted boys.  Three to be exact. I don't know why.  I probably thought they would be fun and a lot less of a headache than girls.  How hard could they be?

But, wow, they sure are a different breed. I don't mean that in a "bashing" way. It is the truth.  God made them different than me, and I need to celebrate that difference instead of getting frustrated by it.

 This boy loves dirt.
I was excited, then, to be able to review Raising Real Men ($12.75; audiobook available for $20), the 2011 Book of the Year from the Christian Small Publishers Association.  This parent resource is sold at Timberdoodle.

I've read several other books about raising boys, and found this particular book to be the most enjoyable.  Its style is conversational, peppered with lots of stories from Hal and Melanie Young's posse of boys (six boys, two girls).  The chapters are not too long, so it was easy to read in between our studies, cooking and laundry.

The first section of the book is a chapter-by-chapter discussion of male virtues. You know those virtues -- The ones that mommies usually say, "careful!" and "watch out!" when boys are acting them out.  Reading this section helps to remind myself of my purpose in raising these God-given boys. Do I want brave, hard-working, resilient young men who leave my home?  It was a good reminder for me to check my attitude before I open my mouth to warn them about their next adventure or challenge.

The second section of the book is designed to help parents capture the essence of boyhood and celebrate it in the various roles and responsibilities boys find themselves.

The book helped me have a light bulb moment for our homeschool. We use our whole house for teaching.  Sometimes were at the dining room table, sometimes at the breakfast counter, often on the couch.  I just revamped our school room in August -- and will revamp it again after reading this book.  The boys only use the school table for dumping books on it -- or maybe opening up two or three books when they are working on an art project or report.  Why fill a room with a big table, when where they really learn is standing or laying on the floor?  And for that matter, why not try a bean bag chair?  They love creating forts and fortresses before settling down for reading or math or history.  Why fight their natural proclivities? I want my boys to learn and love God's world.  We can accomplish both these goals without sitting at a table or desk.

First day of school picture.  "Boys, stand
nice and smile." What do I get? A rifle. You can
take the boy away from the gun, but you
cannot take the gun away from the boy

Although the authors do homeschool their families, this book really does help parents to encourage boys in a healthy and robust manner, no matter where they are schooled.

{Um, and if you don't have boys, but have daughters who will someday marry a former boy, I really, really encourage you moms to pick up at least one book about boys or men sometime before dating begins.  Society, TV, and popular culture have so emasculated men that it is important to understand how different God designed men to be.}

I encourage you to stop over at Timberdoodle and see their other parenting helps.  They also have some amazing outdoor activities and fun stuff for boys (think Christmas!).

You can catch some other reviews for this resource at the Because Mom Said! blog.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Raising Real Men in exchange for a frank and unbiased review. Click here for a copy of their free homeschooling catalog.

1 comment:

Hal & Melanie Young said...

Alane, I am so happy you enjoyed our book. I love reading what different people pick out and your description of our sections was a blessing to me!

I'd like to invite you and your readers to connect with us on Facebook and to check out our blog at

Thanks for a lovely review!

Melanie Young