Four Things Boys Learn from Their Fathers
Whether it is a toddler who wants to carry his father's tools as he works around the house, or the six-year-old who insists on accompanying dad on his errands, early on, boys obtain their idea of masculine behavior from their father.
1. How to deal with, look at, and think about women
Fatherly experience teaches two important lessons: First, boys, from a very young age, want to be with their father, and will model their behavior after his. Second, Dad's voice can be heard over and above almost any crowd. These facts argue for a father's key role in his son's forming the virtue of chastity.
Whether it is a toddler who wants to carry his father's tools as he works around the house, or the six-year-old who insists on accompanying dad on his errands, early on, boys obtain their idea of masculine behavior from their father. As our society more and more tries to pass off hyper-sexuality as manly, one of the first and best antidotes to this is the father's own chastity. Although it may seem like a near-lost battle, being one of the few voices singing the virtue of pure love, there is a factor that tilts that balance into Dad's favor: to a growing boy, there is no greater authority on manliness than his father. So dads, take heart: you can have a great effect on your son in the area of keeping a chaste heart. Teach him the precautions one should take to guard the eyes, mind, and heart. Let him know that you pray daily for holy purity (or, better yet, make that prayer with your family.) Tell your son, when he's ready for it, of the beauty of chastity as a fostering of something very good. Most of all, speak to him with your actions, whether or not he is watching you; if you live the virtue of chastity yourself, he will be more likely to follow you in it.
As a colleague of mine points out, the number one factor which influences a boy's confidence is his relationship with his father. This is not to minimize the love and care of the mother, for she plays an equally important, but perhaps differently oriented role in her son's self-confidence. Yet, there is no replacing the positive, and necessarily sincere, encouragement of a boy's father. Why? A boy is constantly assessing himself, testing himself, not only with regard to who he is, but with respect to what he will become. As he will some day become a man, he finds the easiest measure in that regard to be his own father. For not only is Dad the model of masculinity, but in a very real way, he is the family's own representative of the outside world. If the son's truest boyhood hero thinks he is good, capable, and worthy, the boy himself is most likely to believe it.
3. Strength, Sacrifice, and Service
As noted earlier, the first and truest hero a boy can have is naturally and properly the boy's own father. This is especially key if the young man is to learn the virtue of sacrifice.