ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mentoring Boys. Tips for Dads

Updated on May 26, 2018
parrster profile image

Among his varied other writing interests, Richard Parr aspires to creating interesting and inspiring stories about life.

One son, two son, three son, more...

How many sons do you have?

See results

Where do the years go?

A common refrain, and one that fully resonates with parents. Kids just seem to speed up life.

An illusion? Maybe. We know hours don't really go any faster, but life schedules dramatically get reshuffled when kids come on the scene.

Oddly, that same period that passes so rapidly for parents, dawdles by for our children; days seem as hours and weeks as days—an aspect of childhood we all miss.

Memorable Moments

And this translates into a good thing for parents, for whatever time we manage to give to our children becomes amplified. To them each minute stretches out into lasting memories; some of which they will never forget.

In this article I want to inspire fathers to build many such lasting moments with their children. To become mentors to our sons.

I'll present some wisdom of the ages on the subject, interspersed with some father and son highlights of my own.

Be Honest About Yourselve

Are there things about yourself you'd rather your son didn't imitate?

See results

Mini Me's

Someone once said the first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children. Cynical, yes, but there are seeds of truth in it.

Perhaps nothing emphasises the reality of fallible human nature more than the baggage we can pass on to our kids, as hard as we might try not to.

Therefore, a discerning practice for all potential fathers is to sit down and reflect on the hand-me-down ruins (inherited negative traits) that we might unconscionably pass on to our own kids. And be sure to seek counsel from your wives—they'd love to help you in this department.

Oh, and no brooding.

In truth, there's probably no greater gift a father grants his children–other than loving their mother– than the determination to break the cycle of negative generational influences.

For make no mistake, though they won't be die-cast replicas, your boys will imitate you where it matters most; how you respond when angry; your emotional maturity; your listening skills; your compassion for others; your self-control; your priorities; your spirituality; etc.

The good news is that You can break the cycle. Poor attitudes, behaviours & manners of relating don't have to be passed on—But it begins with recognising where a cycle exists.

If possible, this may be a good time to talk to your own father about this.

Remember

Do Father Son Projects Together ...Often

Of course, some memories will last longer than others. I built this buggy with my boy when was five. With some custom extension pedals, he had a ball.
Of course, some memories will last longer than others. I built this buggy with my boy when was five. With some custom extension pedals, he had a ball. | Source

Watching vs Doing

Hands up if you take your kids to umpteen different activities every week?

Of course, the goal is for them to discover and develop their natural skills and inherent gifts.

Kid sports, clubs and peer interaction offer great opportunities for growing boys. However, it can all to easily replace meaningful father and son activities. Activities where we move from simply watching our son(s), to actively doing something alongside them. From being simply a chauffeur– observer–fan-club, to being the mentor.

Afterall, think of all the things you can enjoy together; all the things you can teach them.

Following are a few ideas that I've had success doing with my boy. I'm a bit of a DIY'er, so the activities revolve around making stuff. But utilise your own strengths. What you do is not as important as that you're doing it together.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
What boy doesn't want to be a Knight?Making Chain mail armourMy son spent over three months working on this with meMetal sword and shieldStripped down the bike. Got rid of the rust and rebuilt. Here my son is wire brushing down the handle bars readying for a coat of paint.Remote control cars are not only a lot of fun, but they help boys understand electronics and the need to maintain things in good working order.Technic lego is fun for father and son and a great way for kids to express their creativityBuilding an off-road buggy was a lot of work. My son was five at the time, but still loved to help out sorting nuts and bolts, holding things etcFather and son group camping can be great fun if organised well.A simple enough project for most boys over ten. Stilts are easy to make under adult supervision and loads of fun to use.
What boy doesn't want to be a Knight?
What boy doesn't want to be a Knight? | Source
Making Chain mail armour
Making Chain mail armour
My son spent over three months working on this with me
My son spent over three months working on this with me | Source
Metal sword and shield
Metal sword and shield | Source
Stripped down the bike. Got rid of the rust and rebuilt. Here my son is wire brushing down the handle bars readying for a coat of paint.
Stripped down the bike. Got rid of the rust and rebuilt. Here my son is wire brushing down the handle bars readying for a coat of paint. | Source
Remote control cars are not only a lot of fun, but they help boys understand electronics and the need to maintain things in good working order.
Remote control cars are not only a lot of fun, but they help boys understand electronics and the need to maintain things in good working order. | Source
Technic lego is fun for father and son and a great way for kids to express their creativity
Technic lego is fun for father and son and a great way for kids to express their creativity | Source
Building an off-road buggy was a lot of work. My son was five at the time, but still loved to help out sorting nuts and bolts, holding things etc
Building an off-road buggy was a lot of work. My son was five at the time, but still loved to help out sorting nuts and bolts, holding things etc | Source
Father and son group camping can be great fun if organised well.
Father and son group camping can be great fun if organised well. | Source
A simple enough project for most boys over ten. Stilts are easy to make under adult supervision and loads of fun to use.
A simple enough project for most boys over ten. Stilts are easy to make under adult supervision and loads of fun to use. | Source

No Man is an Island

It takes a village to raise a child

I believe in this folksy wisdom. We do our children a disservice if we don't allow other trusted adults to get involved in their lives and upbringing.

For sons in particular, the experience of spending time with other men in activities that encourage interaction and mentoring can have a great maturing effect in their lives.

No father can be all things to a son. They will have the chance at being the centre of their sons lives –especially in the younger years– but there will be traits, skills, interests and insights that other men are better able to provide.

As their father, you can assist your son in his development by helping them develop relationships with other trusted men.

Tough question time

How close a relationship do you feel you have with your young son?

See results

Boys to Men

A great way get Dads and sons together with other Dads and Sons, is to create or get involved with a a boys mentoring group.

We formed our own with fathers and sons from several church groups. We meet throughout the year with the purpose of shared mentoring of the boys in our group. We call the group, Boys2Men.

Each man has the opportunity to host an event in which they can pass on something they know and can share.

It's a very interactive time, often hilarious and always rewarding. A few of the activities we have so far enjoyed include;

  • Creek fishing
  • Fish preparation and cooking
  • Basic car maintenance
  • Billycart build and race day
  • BMX racing challenge

I hosted the Billy-cart racing day.

The goal was to teach the boys how to follow a basic assembly plan in building a Billy-cart and then test their handiwork on the local grassy mountain.

The day included a hilarious mock-auction, building mayhem, lunch together and then racing fun.

Billy Cart Plans

Present the boys with simple plans they can follow. Dads can be on-hand to assist.
Present the boys with simple plans they can follow. Dads can be on-hand to assist. | Source

Billy-carts or Bust

Click thumbnail to view full-size
things get really boring if kids are waiting for tools to be available. Borrow and scavenge, but have enough gear for everyone to keep moving forward.Keep any talks short and/or witty.Throughout, involve the boys as much as possible.Some of the more difficult parts of the Billy-carts I prefabricated. There was still lots for them to do but, more importantly, more time at the end to use them.Each boy was given the same amount of monopoly money which they could then use to bid on the various prefabricated parts.Of course, before bidding they were permitted to inspect the wares.The auction was a great success, and the boys excitement often hilariousFor some reason the blue rear axle and wheels was a popular item, and bidding was furious and funny.Money spent and parts collected, the assembly began.make sure all the safety gear is available and that the kids use it.Only assist when necessary. Dependence breeds hostility; kids love the buzz of accomplishing for themselves. So do adults for that matter.Is there anything more manly than a powertool, grrrYoung-fella will probably remember this time for the rest of his lifeThe boys designed their own stencils and spray-painted them on.Once the paint was dry (use quick-dry spray paint), it was time to visit the mountain of doom.Trek to the topA fearful startFalse startThe terrifying descentTurn confound you, turnwitness the concentrationWitness the terrorWitness the thirstAccidents are to be expected in motor sportAnd the occasional deathSurvivorsDearly departed
things get really boring if kids are waiting for tools to be available. Borrow and scavenge, but have enough gear for everyone to keep moving forward.
things get really boring if kids are waiting for tools to be available. Borrow and scavenge, but have enough gear for everyone to keep moving forward. | Source
Keep any talks short and/or witty.
Keep any talks short and/or witty. | Source
Throughout, involve the boys as much as possible.
Throughout, involve the boys as much as possible. | Source
Some of the more difficult parts of the Billy-carts I prefabricated. There was still lots for them to do but, more importantly, more time at the end to use them.
Some of the more difficult parts of the Billy-carts I prefabricated. There was still lots for them to do but, more importantly, more time at the end to use them. | Source
Each boy was given the same amount of monopoly money which they could then use to bid on the various prefabricated parts.
Each boy was given the same amount of monopoly money which they could then use to bid on the various prefabricated parts. | Source
Of course, before bidding they were permitted to inspect the wares.
Of course, before bidding they were permitted to inspect the wares. | Source
The auction was a great success, and the boys excitement often hilarious
The auction was a great success, and the boys excitement often hilarious | Source
For some reason the blue rear axle and wheels was a popular item, and bidding was furious and funny.
For some reason the blue rear axle and wheels was a popular item, and bidding was furious and funny. | Source
Money spent and parts collected, the assembly began.
Money spent and parts collected, the assembly began. | Source
make sure all the safety gear is available and that the kids use it.
make sure all the safety gear is available and that the kids use it. | Source
Only assist when necessary.
Only assist when necessary. | Source
Dependence breeds hostility; kids love the buzz of accomplishing for themselves. So do adults for that matter.
Dependence breeds hostility; kids love the buzz of accomplishing for themselves. So do adults for that matter. | Source
Is there anything more manly than a powertool, grrr
Is there anything more manly than a powertool, grrr | Source
Young-fella will probably remember this time for the rest of his life
Young-fella will probably remember this time for the rest of his life | Source
The boys designed their own stencils and spray-painted them on.
The boys designed their own stencils and spray-painted them on. | Source
Once the paint was dry (use quick-dry spray paint), it was time to visit the mountain of doom.
Once the paint was dry (use quick-dry spray paint), it was time to visit the mountain of doom. | Source
Trek to the top
Trek to the top | Source
A fearful start
A fearful start | Source
False start
False start | Source
The terrifying descent
The terrifying descent | Source
Turn confound you, turn
Turn confound you, turn | Source
witness the concentration
witness the concentration | Source
Witness the terror
Witness the terror | Source
Witness the thirst
Witness the thirst | Source
Source
Accidents are to be expected in motor sport
Accidents are to be expected in motor sport | Source
And the occasional death
And the occasional death | Source
Source
Survivors
Survivors | Source
Dearly departed
Dearly departed | Source

Younger men can mentor boys too

In one of our Boys2Men events we utilised the talents of of a local BMX expert. Though a young man, and single, he was someone who had knowledge and skills the boys admired and learnt from.

Later, some of the dad's who were mountain bike enthusiasts, took the boys on a trek. The other Dad's readied the barbecue lunch.

My son–who loves BMX–still recalls this as one of his favourite Boys2Men events.

BMX racing Introduction

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Local BMX talent did a great job of passing on a few riding tipsan attentive father and son audienceAdvice given, it was time to rideBalancing skills
Local BMX talent did a great job of passing on a few riding tips
Local BMX talent did a great job of passing on a few riding tips | Source
an attentive father and son audience
an attentive father and son audience | Source
Source
Advice given, it was time to ride
Advice given, it was time to ride | Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Balancing skills
Balancing skills | Source

Remember: The force will be with You ...Always

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My boy loved Star Wars and wanted a costume. We spent literally months together building this.Jedi cousinsOne of the local theme parks had a Stars wars Week. We called and asked if my son could dress up and join the action. He loved it. PS: He's the short clone trooper.
My boy loved Star Wars and wanted a costume. We spent literally months together building this.
My boy loved Star Wars and wanted a costume. We spent literally months together building this. | Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Jedi cousins
Jedi cousins | Source
One of the local theme parks had a Stars wars Week. We called and asked if my son could dress up and join the action. He loved it. PS: He's the short clone trooper.
One of the local theme parks had a Stars wars Week. We called and asked if my son could dress up and join the action. He loved it. PS: He's the short clone trooper. | Source

© 2014 Richard Parr

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • parrster profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Parr 

      4 years ago from Australia

      @All ~ thanks everyone for your comments and feedback.

      @quildon ~ Yes, it seems to be a common male failing that we relinquish so much of our parental responsibility onto our wives. I think there is a lot of confusion in society about what it means to be men, to stand out as a male. Unfortunately many find it easier just to work hard earning a living, than to work hard building meaningful relationships.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Awesome advice here. Too many fathers leave parenting up to the mother thinking that all they have to do is provide the material stuff, but boys need to know that their dad is their friend as well as their parent. Great hub! Voted up, awesome and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is great truth in this article. I was a single parent for fifteen years and I see a great deal of me in my son....thankfully most of it good. :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      A hub to be read by all fathers-to-be. By the time they become fathers, they should know all about being a great father. Sadly, the majority people, and especially men, believe they don't need to qualify themselves for parenthood.

      Great hub! May it make an impact on many :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very good counsel for fathers. You included important aspects of father-child relationships. Voted Up.

    • ainehannah profile image

      Aine O'Connor 

      4 years ago from Dublin

      Wonderful, rich feature - fun and fab :-)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)