I want to thank Hal and Melanie Young for sending me a copy of Raising Real Men in return for my honest review.
I grew up in a house with two sisters and a strong adult female personality. Consider then, my shock when I married (seven months after our first date) and settled down to raise a new-to-me ten-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. First of all, my husband was not like my mom. He was a man’s man. And my son…
My husband took my daughter out of the house one sunny Saturday afternoon. I was sitting in the living room reading when I heard the biggest raccoon on earth on the roof. It was big, it was stomping, and it was moving rapidly across the roof. I ran out the front door into the middle of the lawn, looked up, and discovered my new-to-me boy on the roof. He had a sheet tied around his neck, his toes on the gutter, and his arms outstretched.
“Watch me, Danika!” said the boy. “I can fly!”….
Unable to convince the child that he could not fly, I promised to take away his bike (read that “his freedom”) unless he would come down from the roof. The catch? He had to climb down a ladder. Not fly.
That’s when I knew. Boys are different than girls.
Hal and Melanie Young are well acquainted with that truth. The parents of eight children, they have six boys. Let that sink in for a moment. Six.
It’s been years since my first boy tried to become Superman. He’s grown with a baby of his own. I have two more boys in the midst of their pre-teen years and, frankly, I could use some mentorship as I navigate this season again. Melanie has been a terrific source of wisdom for me personally through conversations online, so I was excited to read the book she and her husband Hal wrote: Raising Real Men (Great Waters Press, 2010).
If only I’d read Raising Real Men before that Saturday morning, I’d have known the house was too quiet! On page 25, Hal and Melanie write:
“Our focus must be on leading our sons into godly manhood, not just trying to manage them to make our lives convenient and more pleasant. Because undoubtedly it would be very convenient and pleasant if little boys would sit and color quietly like their sisters. Admit it. When the girls are quiet, all’s sweetness and light. When the boys are quiet, someone better check on them.“
Hal and Melanie Young wrote Raising Real Men in a friendly, conversational tone plenty of examples, explanations, and application. Their advice challenged me to consider how I parent and why, and I appreciated the wisdom they shared. At no point did I feel like they were advocating only one way of looking at an issue. I truly appreciated their frequent discussion of the Bible’s view on men.
The book is divided into two parts which discuss a number of subjects.
The first part of Raising Real Men deals with virtues:
- Heroes — The biblical view of heroes, how boys see them, where they find them, and healthy heroes for your boys
- Adventure — The biblical view of adventure and recklessness, good reasons for boldness and adventure, and healthy risk-taking
- Independence — Historical boyhood and our current culture, responsibility and freedom, gradual independence, and avoiding disaster
- Weapons — The biblical view of violence, guidelines for pretend play, and real weaponry
- Authority — The biblical view of leadership, discipline, obedience, and the path to servant leadership
- Competition — The biblical view of competition, historical competition, competition and leadership, limits to competition, academics, lessons to be learned, and the gifted child
- Boys in Real Life — Exercising what they’ve learned
The second part of Raising Real Men covers training boys to live in community:
- The Most Important Stuff — What’s biblically most important to teach your boys, and how to teach it
- Stewardship — Economics as it relates to daily decisions, tracking and planning spending, the working world, and planning for the future
- Homeschooling Boys — Development, gender in learning, common issues, child resistance, goals, stress, and more
- Chivalry — The biblical view of manners, social interaction, training, and chivalry in the outside world
- Household Responsibilities — The biblical view of our roles, our culture, and critical tasks (also a whole lot of practical tips on raising some responsible, helpful men)
- Love, Marriage, and Everything Related — Navigating temptation and technology, teaching a biblical view, finding a wife, courtship, dating and other options
- Launching Manhood — Manhood, steps toward manhood, becoming a provider, college and other options, types of colleges, strategies for college, the parent’s new roles
The last section of Raising Real Men addresses a few common parenting concerns.
Raising Real Men is a helpful, biblical look at what it means to raise (and homeschool, if you choose) boys to be men who model the view of manhood outlined in Scripture. I highly recommend the book to all parents of boys. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Raising Real Men won the distinction of “2011 Book of the Year” from the Christian Small Publishers Association and is endorsed by twenty well-known men including pastors, authors, educators, a senator, a lawyer, and missionaries. Among the list of providing endorsements are names like Dr. Tedd Tripp, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr., Chris Klicka and Kevin Swanson.
If you’re itching to buy the book immediately, you may want to check out the deal you’ll get from Hal and Melanie Young. Not only will buying directly from them help support their speaking and writing ministry, you’ll also receive:
- A free .PDF download of the Raising Real Men Study Guide — free with every book purchase in any format.
- With every hard copy book purchased, receive a free two CD set of the first Sugar Creek Gang audio book, The Swamp Robber.
- Free Shipping
The book is available in ebook, paperback, or audiobook format.
You can also find Raising Real Men at:
Other parenting books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- You, Your Family, and the Internet by David Clark
- Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. and Sherry Harney
- Engaging Today’s Prodigal by Carol Barnier
- Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson
- Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.