Young men desperately need the respect of the other men of their family because one way that we find our masculine identity is by observing how others treat us. If other men respect us, then we believe that we must be worthy of respect and we respect ourselves. Sadly, the opposite is true as well. If other men do not respect us, it’s easy for us to believe that we are not worthy of their respect.
Men are called to be leaders; courageous, strong, assertive, providers and protectors. Without respect, a man cannot serve as an effective leader for his community or his family. In fact, without self-respect, a man cannot even lead himself.
It is vital that a boy feels respected by his father, because his father is his primary male role model. There is something special about Dad. Dad is the provider, he is the enforcer, and he is the man that goes out of the house everyday to face the world and fight dragons. Dad is physically larger, has a deeper voice, and can grow hair on this face. As a young man, when someone like that respects you, you respect yourself more.
But just feeling respect towards your son is not enough; you must show him your respect. One thing that we men aren’t always good at is expressing ourselves. Call it our pride or just not being as in-touch with our emotions. But when a father can verbally express his pride to his son by saying things like “Good job, kid!” Or “I’m so proud of you!”, this display of affection is like candy for his brain. He will respond positively to cheer and praise. It trains a boy to understand that he is permitted to be emotionally in tune and that it’s OK to show emotion.
Whether he says it or not, the fact that you are his father means that your son respects you. If you show your respect to him in return, especially if you tell him verbally, then he will believe that he is worthy of self respect. Fathers have incredible influence over their children. It is a simple, but powerful fact of a young man’s life.
Do you have a son or grandson about to turn thirteen? Are you looking to do something memorable for this birthday, to mark his entrance into manhood in a special way? Check out our new book Milestone to Manhood on Amazon here.