Raising Men with 5 Fingers
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Cor. 16:13-14
John Wooden has inspired me to impart to my sons memorable values and virtues. Wooden tells of the influence his dad, Joshua Wooden, had on his life by the way his dad lived but also by short lists that his dad consistently referenced in teachable moments.
For instance, Wooden’s dad had simple rules to live by which were organized into what he called “Two Sets of Three.” The first set was about honesty:
- Never lie.
- Never cheat.
- Never steal.
The second set was about adversity:
- Don’t wine.
- Don’t complain.
- Don’t make excuses.
Another example is the occasion of John’s graduation from elementary school when Joshua gave his son a two dollar bill and a list of “Seven things to do.”
The fact that John Wooden would remember and write about these things decades later, affirms how important they were for the formation of the person he became.
So here is our attempt (Lacey and I) to pass on to our sons values in a way that they will remember every time they look at their hands. We tell our boys that if they do these five things, they are then on their way to becoming men. I think in the future we will add another five (We’ll get some of these in later), but for now we have a good beginning plan that we can consistently use.
My encouragement to anyone who has small children, whether boys or girls, is to start now and think of memorable ways to impart truth to your children by repetition and association. Pray, think through the lens of the Bible, and begin to think about what it is you want your children to remember and apply. Don’t try to impart too much because when you try to say everything, you run the risk of saying nothing. Once you know what it is that you want your children to remember for the rest of their lives, say it and show it consistently.
Chronic inconsistency has to be one of the greatest barriers to the transmission of life-shaping truth. We must know the truth, but we must press the truth to our children with diligent repetition. We do this with the things we deem important. For example: “Look both ways before you cross the road.”
My hope is that this will help people to think of ways that they can impart Christ-like character to their children for the glory of God. If you can use our hand idea, go for it.