5 Reasons Why I'm Thankful to Raise My Sons, But It's Hard!


Raising sons can be a challenge especially since the role of men is now less clear than ever before.

I always thought  raising a teenage daughter would be challenging. From empowering her to be the best she can be to making sure she doesn't get hurt by some boy or man. I had a lot to worry about. 

I was wrong. Raising my two boys has been the hardest most frustrating thing I've ever done. From possibly being harmed by your own peer group, to doing something drastic to affirm you are the young men you say you are. Let's not forget the daily arguments reminding them to pick up after themselves, I constantly struggle with the fact that I might not be the best man for the job. Even more challenging is how to shape them into being the best man, they can be. The role of what it means to be a man is more confusing than ever before. I have tried to show them what it means to be a good man by loving and treating my wife with respect, doing the things necessary make our house run smoothly and being there when they needed me. 

The frustrating part has been understanding their point of view on things and allowing them to exercise their voice. I have gotten to a point where I feel I am constantly criticizing and rushing to judgment which is driving a wedge between me and my sons. I don't like it.

Then I watched last week's episode of This is Us and it almost drew me to tears. It featured Kevin Pearson, the oldest child of the Pearson clan and how his life began to spiral out of control after a devastating knee injury in high school. What I noticed is some of the same challenges that I have with my sons: disrespect, the care-free attitude and taking life for granted. What struck me was even though Kevin and his father, didn't always see eye to eye, it was clear how much he craved his approval even as an adult. The necklace his dad gave him before he died, was the only thing he had left and now that it was gone, who was he going to turn to? 

That powerful moment helped me realize that my role is more important than ever to help my sons prepare for manhood, and that I should be thankful that I am challenged every day. Challenges help you get better. 

Here are 5 reasons why I'm thankful I get to raise my sons. 

  •  I am thankful to teach them to be honorable and charitable. 

My sons are very smart, athletic and talented. They will come across people in life that will gravitate towards them. I will teach them don't blow them off. Give of your time and treasure. It makes a difference. You never know when you may need that helping hand and you hope someone will be there for you. 

  • I am thankful to teach them humanity. 

I will teach them that humanity consists of showing all sides of their personality: joy and sadness, anger and calmness, assertiveness and gentleness, just to name a few. Tapping into all facets of their personality will help them lead a full, balanced life. 

  •   I am thankful to teach them disappointment is a part of life. 

Life isn't going to be perfect. There will be times that they will not make that basketball team, get all A's, or go out with that girl you really like. It will be my job to not only share my stories of disappointment, but to just be there for you when those moments come. 

  • I am thankful that I have the ability to adapt to meet you where you are.

Part of being a good coach is assessing your players strengths and adapting your style to meet their needs. I realize my sons are one, different from daughter and even different from each other. If I want maximum effort, I have to touch each of them in a way, they understand. Famous coach, Mike Krzyzewski puts it this way when it comes to adapting to your players, “The really interesting thing about coaching is not just to put out a drill or a play but to understand the people who are doing the play or drill.” 

  • I am thankful and proud just to be your Dad.

This job that I have been given isn't lost on me and I don't take it for granted. Correction is important, but affirmation and acceptance is just as important and I challenge myself to do more of that. 

Raising sons is very hard work, but as long as you can tackle the job as much as you did raising your daughters and help them to become confident, have humility and help them to be the MAN they are called to be, consider it a job well done. You should be very thankful. 

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Keith Dent is a relationship, family and life coach at www.strive2succeedcoaching.com . He has appeared on sites like The Good Men Project, MamMia and The Real Dad's Network and is the author of the upcoming book In The Paint - How to Win at the Game of Love