It’s been said it’s “easier to build a boy than to mend a man.” I agree. So how do we build the next generation of boys into men?
John Wooden was the men’s basketball coach at UCLA for nearly thirty years and is widely recognized as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. The dominance of his teams remains unprecedented into the modern era.
Surprisingly, though, his lessons on the court had more to do with being a man than with basketball. One of his players once commented, “Coach Wooden never tired of telling us that once you become a good man, then you have a chance of becoming a good basketball player.”
A startling number of boys today are alone, left to figure out for themselves what it means to be a man. The statistics suggest that these boys are more likely to grow up in poverty, abuse drugs, commit crime, experience early sexual activity, and even contemplate suicide.
Single moms are not to blame. My own mom was a single-parent for a time. Many women are investing their lives into providing the best family environment they can for their children. But the longing for the unique strengths, companionship, and approval that only a dad can provide is wired into a boy’s DNA. They need a “Coach Wooden” in their lives, someone to cast a greater vision for all that life can be.
Men, if you have sons, engage in their lives. If you don’t have boys, be a mentor for one. Show them what it means to have character and to live with strength, integrity, and the courage to stand up and defend what’s right.
That level of character isn’t developed in a vacuum. Boys learn to become men in the company of other men as they walk and grow through the challenges of life together.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “The Value of Mentoring Fatherless Boys,” we’re looking at fatherlessness and how men can step up in the lives of boys who are impacted by this epidemic.
In 2005, our guests, John Smithbaker and Scott MacNaughton, founded Fathers in the Field, a church-based ministry that connects men to boys who are missing a dad in their lives. You can hear our conversation on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app.