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On a daily basis, I think about what kind of people our children will be when they are grown. Will they be responsible? Will they be kind? Will they be helpful?

Today I am sharing 5 practical ways to teach boys to be men.   When our son was younger, he went to a week-long local summer day camp in our own (it was 3 hours a day, similar to Vacation Bible School) and he signed up for ‘MAN LAND’ in the camp.

I expected it to be a class about making things with tools or doing more boy-scout type of things.    I was wrong and I’m happy about it!

sons to be men

When I went into the camp, on the last day, for Parent’s Day, their camp leader greeted us.  There were 12 young men in our son’s group.   The leader, John, had given each of them a nickname.  Our son was “Arrow Head” because he is strong and quick thinking, like an arrow (so true!).

John introduced each of the 12 young men and then said  “God made your sons to become men.   What kind of man do you want your son to be? ”

Then John looked at the group of 7, 8 and 9-year-old young men and said to them:  “What kind of man will you be?”

They all answered, in unison, “GENTLEMEN.

I loved that. I want our sons to be gentlemen.   I want them to be strong, but kind.    I want them to be steady, but take chances.   I want them to be successful, but generous.

Here are 5 ways that we can teach our young men to be gentlemen:

1-  Handshakes. 
Every boy should understand the art of the handshake.    There are two kinds: formal and informal.   This group learned both of them.

Formal handshake~ Strong handshake.  Look the opposing person in the eyes.  Introduce yourself first “Hi.  I’m ___.”  Ask for their name “You are?”

Informal Handshake~ Take their hand and pull it in while you give them a hug with the other hand and use that second hand to pat them firmly on the back.   Ask a question “How are you, Man?”

2- Tie a Tie.
Every single young man in that room walked away with the ability to tie a tie.   It was not easy and it took practice.   They were asked to practice at home, as well.

He also talked about how to DRESS like a gentleman (matching your pants, shirt, jacket, socks, etc… with your tie) and how to dress appropriately.
Example: For a wedding, you wear a suit.
To work outside, you wear work clothes.

3- How to make a pancake. 
I loved this one because it gave them that extra bit of responsibility.   It can be dangerous if you aren’t responsible, but you are smart, and you can handle this.   He taught them how to prepare and serve the pancakes.  The art of when it is time to flip them over (when they bubble through) and when to take them off of the griddle.  He taught these young men how much syrup is needed and how to cut pancakes correctly: with a fork and spoon.
Then he told them to cook breakfast for their mom!  (Love that one even more!)

4.  How to serve others.
Carry laundry for your mom.   Shovel the walk-way when it snows.  Carry groceries in without being asked.   Take the dog out and care for him.

5.  Paint a room.
Paint around the trim (tape it off).  Check if you need one or two coats of paint.
Paint the trim separately.  Use a roller.  Use a brush.
(Our kids love to help my husband paint!)

Yes, these are practical, but they are great for your children to know and understand.  Sometimes the most practical things are really what our kids need to know and understand in order to feel responsible, confident and strong.

Join our free course about spending one-on-one time with your kids (& I’ll send you this calendar):  

A close up of a calendar on a white background.

More posts you might like:

one on one time

If you liked this post, you’ll love these ones…

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10 life lessons I want my children to learn

10 ways to teach kindness

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Hi Becky! I loved this post& I read it even though I am raising a girl! I read it because I’m already little by little trying to teach my daughter how to recognize a gentleman in her future! But one thing I always emphasis to her is how to recognize a person who also puts God first and cares about his ultimate plan for their lives because then he will be leading his family down the right path. That would be first for me because then he would have the grace to truly be able to walk out these lessons he has learned in his own life & bless his family with the outcome as well! I hope you do a post for the girls too ! I always look forward to your insightful articles!

  2. This is fantastic! This reminds me of the Men’s Advance (a large retreat for men that our church puts together every year) because the theme this year was Gentlemen: Stories of Power Under Control. I am raising 2 boys and it is so valuable to teach this lesson! I love the practical advice and how the underlying theme is that real men value others, serve willingly and enjoy it. That camp sounds really neat, and it is also neat that your son chose that class! Very wise! Keep up the good parenting.

    1. Thanks you! I was so excited that he picked it and when I saw it, I was even more thrilled with what they were teaching!

  3. I love this list. I was a bit apprehensive when I clicked the post. I was afraid I’d see something like ‘Don’t cry.’ Instead, I see a great list about how to treat others with respect and how to do practical things that will give them a sense of pride. I will be teaching my son all of these things.

    1. Thank you! (& thanks for taking the time to comment!! I appreciate that!)

  4. Hi Becky,
    I’m Raising two boys and a girl. I’d like them to grow to be gentlemen and a lady. I’ve seen some unfortunate behavior from close relatives that is way too common among adults these days! Things I never want to see in my kids. I really appreciate posts like this. If you have the time, I’d love to see a similar one dedicated to our girls becoming ladies. Thanks for caring about life so much!

  5. Lovely post. For the first time today my little man asked did I “need help to get groceries in from the car?” after the weekly food shop . He also organised me into a more efficient method where I took them to the door and he ferried them into the kitchen and worked hard to carry the heavy.bags on his own. So proud, as it seems like months since I started just asking him to take one or two things or lining up some easier things to carry. We are a family so should all pitch in with the family shop.