Training Our Boys to be Men – Part 1

by monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry

A while back, at a ladies retreat, one of the women’s speakers began to passionately address the needs of today’s Christian men. As she asked a hypothetical question, “Where are all the MEN today?” several young women pointed toward me and shouted, “They’re at the Dunagan’s!”

Wow. As everyone laughed, I shook my head and smiled, and enjoyed an incredibly proud momma-moment (and I could hardly wait to get home to share the story with my guys!).

My husband, and our five sons (currently ages 11 to 25), have definitely had their share of adventures — climbing mountains, hiking into remote unreached villages, running triathlons and a marathon, sleeping all night in frozen igloos, and bringing justice into war-torn areas (both in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of a Rwandan genocide, or preaching during civil wars in Sudan or Congo; or for one son, in commanding USMC snipers in front-line military battles). Right now, I have one 15-year-old son tanning a bear hide in our backyard; one college son preparing for a mission trip to Germany; and one newlywed son starting a remote Bible school in SE India. They’re tough guys, physically and spiritually. They do pullups. They know how to pray. And they know how to give their mom some big strong hugs!

Our college son, Daniel, on top of Mt. Hood -- and preaching the Gospel in East Africa

My husband, and our boys, are dangerous men for the kingdom of God; and they’ve lived through more dangerous situations than I can remember: smuggling Bibles into Communist China, preaching in a tin building being stoned by angry Islamic rioters, and surviving a life-threatening storm on an Antarctica-bound expedition.

So as a woman, and as a mom, how do you think that affects me?

Well I’ll tell you one thing. As a wife and mother who wants her men to be mighty for God, I have learned that “worry” is not my friend. Being fearful is not the “responsible momma-attitude” to have; being worried is not the same as showing love; and fear doesn’t do anybody any good.

Fear is the opposite of faith.

Do you realize the Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6, to “be anxious for nothing.” Moms, did you hear that? NOTHING. That means NO THING. NOT EVEN ONE THING. No worries. No fear.

We’re not to worry about money. We’re not to worry about the future. We’re not to worry about our husbands. We’re not to worry about our boys.


Try that when your husband is preaching in an area controlled by witchdoctors who want him dead, or when your son is fighting in Afghanistan and you haven’t heard from him in a month.

Our son, Patrick, commanding his USMC platoon, and returning from Afghanistan

But by God’s grace, it’s possible, and it’s a thrilling way to live.

If I want my men to be dangerous for the kingdom of God, I need to be dangerous too. Over the years, God has shown me that I need to be WARRIOR in prayer and intercession, and not a WORRIER.

Today’s world desperately needs REAL MEN; and as mothers in God’s kingdom, we need to do our part to raise our boys to make a difference.

Recently, William Bennett addressed the situation of today’s men. In an article, “Why men are in trouble” he writes how woman have made huge strides in achievement, but men are falling behind. Did you know that men now account for less than half of today’s college degrees? Young men are lacking in maturity, in work skills, and in the discipline (and desire) necessary to provide for a family.

The current situation has led many young men, even in the church, to be floundering. Many guys are without self-control, without work, and without a fervent passion for God. Young men hunger for adventure, yet their desires will never to be met by watching high-action movies, or by becoming an expert in video games. And they don’t need us as women and as moms to tell them to just sit still in church and be good little boys.

Our newlywed son, Josh, ministering at a Bible school he recently started in SE India

We need to release our husband from our fearful (we can do it better) control; and together as a husband and wife, we need to raise our boys for daring kingdom leadership.

As wives, and as mothers, we need to let our men be men.

About ADunagan

Ann Dunagan is a longtime homeschooling mother of 7 (ages 11 to 25, with 4 graduates), an international speaker with Harvest Ministry, co-founder of orphan ministries in East Africa and India (caring for over 700 children), and author of several books including The Mission-Minded Family. With a passion for the Lord and the lost, Ann motivates families for world missions.

82 Responses to Training Our Boys to be Men – Part 1

  1. betsy February 27, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    I so appreciate this post and encouragement. I have a 2 year old boy and a 8 month old girl. My boy is forever tackling my little girl and anyone else who will let him. My greatest desire for him is that he be a man after God`s own heart. Thanks for your encouragement and for the book recommendations! I`m looking forward to your next post!

  2. Jaimi Erickson February 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Cheers to that! As the wife of a Marine and the mother of a headstrong son, I could not agree more. Worry is something that I struggle with as a ‘planner.’ God leads us where we must go if we let Him and we can let Him help us support the wonderful men in our lives. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. Dalia Fam February 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Thanks so much for this article! As a Mom of a very strong minded, active 2-year-old, I worry a LOT. We moved to Africa for missions and there is so much to worry about – his life and future. Today my husband’s sermon was on Matthew 6:25-34 and the message was to “Look up at the birds.” If God is taking care of them, then how much more will He care for us! Your blog reiterated that point – thanks again! Looking forward to reading more :) .

  4. ♥ rebecca February 26, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    hi ann. – thank you SO much for this encouraging post. i too am a mother of 5 boys (oldest 8, youngest 10 weeks). i have recently been VERY AWARE of what a HUGE responsibilty it is for my husband and i raising these 5 boys to become 5 godly men. wow. – it was VERY encouraging to see that your boys are busy about God’s work as adults & that what you taught them as children carried through to adulthood! – i am daily faced with the challenge of raising my boys to be “men of God” in a society that SCREAMS otherwise. – thank you again for your post & for your testimony of being the vessel of God that you are!

    ♥ rebecca

  5. Caitlin February 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Thank you so much for this- it was such a needed challenge and encouragement for me right now. I feel the need for this keenly in my home- I have a son (the oldest of 3 children at 4 1/2 yrs.) and would wish to encourage he and my husband in this. And yet how do I encourage my husband toward this as he does not lead our family spiritually [this is something we have discussed often. He is aware of the need and yet still does nothing]? Your words were convicting to me because I often wonder if my husband’s lack of taking the leadership role is my fault as I struggle deeply with worry and often feel an intense desire to be in control. God has given me much grace throughout the years but I know I have done poorly. Depression and anxiety often threaten to conquer me when I want to be a light of encouragement to my family, a warrior and not a worrier and yet I feel such a failure in this area. I confess to feeling so overwhelmed. Where do I start?
    Again, thank you for your words. I so appreciate all of your posts here. As one comment said “Ann, you are so wise!” I wish there was a woman like you near me who I could glean from on a regular basis. God bless you for the ways in which you serve wholeheartedly with your life!

    • Ann Dunagan February 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      Caitlin — I’m praying for you tonight . . . thankful for your hunger to please God and to allow GOD to control your life . . . and thinking about how to answer your questions. :)

    • Callmekatie April 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Have you ever read Mary Farrar’s Reading Your Male? Some reviews were harshly critical of it, but I found it to be very helpful. It flies in the face of some other pop-Christian (but NOT totally biblical) ideas by explaining that men are sexual AND emotional–and so are women. Men need respect AND love–and so do women.

      Anyway, she makes the point (pardon the paraphrase–don’t have the book handy) that “You must step back for him to step forward.” I believe she actually advocates letting it get *uncomfortable* and *letting the chips fall where they may.” Best sentence: “Your children will not die, and your marriage will survive.”

      I’ve personally become uncomfortable with terms like “spiritual leadership”–that one has floated amongst different circles of girls and women I’ve been a part of. I think often when we say that, we are not quite sure how we define it–only that our men aren’t living up to our hopes and dreams. And that’s something that can crush them.

      To clarify, let me state that I absolutely do NOT advocate remaining in abusive situations or being a doormat in the name of submission. (Indeed, I think those are the situations in which one may say, “I just don’t know what to do,” but in reality it is obvious what to do–it’s just hard actually doing it.)

      Back to decent, kind, upstanding men who nevertheless do not read the Bible, pray, lead couple devotions, or lead family devotions as we would like them to–I think it’s best to pray, pray, pray about these things. Pray specifically, and pray believing. Support and encourage–let them know that their efforts are appreciated. Let them know that they are wonderful providers, that we appreciate whatever it was they did last to help us out, etc. If they feel that they can never shine in this arena, they may well give up trying.

      My own husband has occasionally said things like “I don’t love Jesus enough!” and I know that this is not a reason to be discouraged; it’s wonderful because God is already working and God has given him a tender heart.

      When we see incredible men of faith, Bible teachers, Christian leaders, etc., we need to remember, too, that they weren’t born that way and probably didn’t get that way in their 20s either. (If I see a icon like this in his 20s, I am tempted to watch him more closely, because it’s only the men who’ve truly weathered storms that give me confidence.)

      I think it’s fine to suggest and urge things that are good for you, for him, and for the family (as long as you know the fine line between encouragement and nagging–which I don’t necessarily!). It’s great to ask him to pray WITH you. I think it’s a good thing, too, to ask for his help for family devotions, for example. But do not, do not, do not EVER express disappointment/ lack of confidence in his ability to lead. (I am not saying you are–but women do this; the temptation is there.) If he is overwhelmed with work, see what you can do to help him not be overwhelmed. Let the devotions slide for that night. You get the idea. :) If your dial is more finely tuned and you are acutely aware of a need to get to church and to an additional small group meeting and so on, by all means ask him to come–then encourage his leadership in these small things as appropriate. You may be amazed at what God will do through your faith in Him and your confidence in your husband!

      P.S. Just looked at your post again and noticed the “need for control.” For a time, I struggled with life-dominating anxiety and panic, which I traced back DIRECTLY to a need to be in control of my life (I didn’t even have a husband to control yet!). Sometimes we have to cry out for mercy daily, hourly, even more often–but God is merciful in this and will graciously lead us out of it. He is sovereign over all Creation–He “will neither slumber nor sleep.” It’s OKAY for us to let go and get some rest, because He’s got it.

  6. JCF February 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    My husband and I absolutely desire to raise our two boys to love, honor, and serve God with their lives. However, I take issue with the attitude that “real men” must do the stereo-typically “manly” activities that you mention. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the things you mention, like mountain climbing, tanning a bear hide, etc. Not all men are interested in those activities and to say that those things make real men is only causing division in the body of Christ. My husband has no interest in much of what you mention, but he is a real man in all of the ways that count: He loves God, his wife, and children. He is an excellent son and brother. He works hard in his office job, which he loves, and he represents Christ on a daily basis to his co-workers. We have a very good friend who loves God with all his heart, and you’d never catch him playing sports or hunting; he is usually in the kitchen. He is an excellent chef and host, and he serves others constantly by feeding them well. I think we would do better to avoid picking and choosing which activities make real men (or women), and to focus on encouraging our boys (and girls) to love and serve God with all their hearts, and to encourage them to develop their God given talents and interests, whatever they may be.

    • Ann Dunagan February 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

      Dear JFC,

      I love your thoughts about how you desire for your boys to be raised to “love, honor, and serve God with their lives” and also how you share how your husband “is a real man in all of the ways that count: He loves God, his wife, and children. He is an excellent son and brother. He works hard in his office job, which he loves, and he represents Christ on a daily basis to his co-workers.”

      How awesome!!!

      Actually, my husband is an excellent chef also. He (and two of our sons) also enjoy cooking (actually, way more than I do). And there are many stereotypical “guy” things that my husband doesn’t enjoy either. He doesn’t like to workout in a gym. He doesn’t enjoy weight-lifting. He doesn’t like working on cars or going to car races. And (unlike our boys) he doesn’t enjoy mountain climbing.

      Each of our men are different and unique.

      And YES, the point is that our guys are to love and honor and serve God . . . and our boys are to be raised to expand God’s kingdom (with godly character traits like loving God, loving their future wives and kids, working hard and providing for their families) for God’s glory.

      I really appreciate how you point out how each of our men are different and unique. The primary point I’m trying to make is for us as women to NOT be moved by FEAR in the raising of our boys, and to let them be the (unique) men they are called to be.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts and perspective!!!

      Blessings to you and your men.

      • lauren February 28, 2012 at 6:09 am #

        i appreciate the feedback on JCF’s comment as i was about to make a very similar one. i think the fear that women struggle with is releasing people around us to be who THEY were created to be… not who we want to make them. that controlling gene runs deep and strong and i think is the primary battle in so many of our (MY) life. for some it’s the fear to allow danger in, for others its that they won’t have the boy who is good at sports, likes hunting, be a ‘manly’ man etc., and i think it flows into our daughters as well.
        we were gifted these people in our lives to help them become who God designed them to be and so i think we must guard ourselves from consciously or sub-consciously creating any kind of ‘ideal’ besides what God says are HIS ideals. to love him and people with everything you have, to pursue righteousness and breathe out the fruits of the spirit, to look more and more like Jesus, in word and deed, every day.
        thanks for your heart to be the woman God created you to be and to release your family to do the same!!

  7. Colleen Sleadd February 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Thanks for this encouragement. My little man is just two, but I know I need to be working even now to help him be a mighty man someday. Can’t wait for part 2!

    • Ann Dunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      Colleen, you are so welcome!

      Blessings to you as you mother your 2-year-old to become a mighty man of God. Some days, consistently training a little guy can be tough, but the foundations you are establishing during these early years are SOOOO important. Stay tuned . . . :) Part 2 should be coming early this next week.

  8. Lisa February 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Ann, I loved this!! I couldn’t wait to tell my husband about it last night. We have no sons; our first child, due in May, is a little girl. However, I was very convicted as to my own dealings with my husband. He’s a warrior and that terrifies me. We grew up very differently, so dealing with things like guns and swords in the house is scary to me. After reading this, I realized I need to let him be the man God made him to be, and I need to trust that he will be responsible. When I freak out about having guns in the house with a child around, what I’m really saying is, “I’m afraid and I don’t trust you. I don’t trust you to be responsible in how you deal with the weapons and how you will trust our children to respect and use them properly.” Is there anything more emasculating than that?! We had a good talk about it, and even talked about how we want our daughter to be well-rounded enough to have a bit of warrior skills instilled in her as well. We’ll have a daring daughter! Thank you :-)

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Lisa, I really hope other moms will read your comment, and allow God to challenge their hearts as well. It really blesses me to hear that this article sparked a good talk with your husband and a desire to grow in trust and in faith.

      How exciting that you are expecting your first baby. May this precious little girl follow your example, as you both live for God daring daughters!

  9. Wendy Gunn @ Faith's Firm Foundation February 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Ann, This is a right-on-target article. And you have nailed it that we as wives and moms must have FAITH, and not fear and I love what you said, that we should be warriors, not worriers! Amen!! As an older mom with grown children, I now minister to younger moms, with lots of boys! My mailing list has 23 moms on it and they have over 60 little boys!! I have appreciated a book by Hal and Melanie Young, called Raising Real Men. In fact, last spring our church helped me give every mom in our group a copy. I think it’s one of the best books on raising boys to be men that’s been written! My family is bringing Hal and Melanie to our area in Minnesota, March 27, 2012, and I invite anyone who lives near here to come and hear them speak! See my post today with all the details ( Thanks so much for your insightful and challenging words! Wendy

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm #


      Thanks for sharing this information and for the recommendation for Raising Real Men. It sounds like a great book. It’s exciting that your family has taken the initiative to bring the authors to your area. A project like that takes a lot of work and coordination. It’s awesome to have an idea and a dream . . . come true. May all that God desires for this time with your speakers be accomplished.

      Blessings to you and to all the moms you are mentoring.
      What a beautiful example.

  10. Jolyn February 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I enjoyed this article and look forward to the next parts. I can relate in many ways as I’m a mom to 5 boys ages 9 months to 9 years old. A friend said to me once, “God must think you are pretty special to give you 5 boys to raise to be godly men.” That really challenged me that I have a huge responsibility to raise my boys for God, and it’s not possible at all without God’s help. I have to pray moment by moment and ask God to give me His Wisdom to raise these boys as there can be many challenging times throughout a day, especially with toddlers. (note: I wrote this response without reading the other response so hope I didn’t repeat anything :)

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm #


      “God must think you are pretty special to give you 5 boys to raise to be godly men.”
      (What a loving and encouraging friend!) May we all speak life-giving words like that.

      Thanks for adding such encouraging words to our discussion!!!

  11. Yvonne February 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Dear Ann,
    What a Blessing your article is.A great reminder of God’s promises to Train up our chilldren in the way they should go and when they are old they will not turn from it.It is sometimes so hard not to worry,but we must remember that our children are a gift from God and just on loan to us for a time.They belong to God and he has given us the manual for life in the greatest Love letter ever written with instuctions on how to train them up.As parents may our response be, As for me and my house,we will serve the Lord.Bless you Ann, Jon and your children are blessed to have you as a wife and mother with such a heart to serve God.( Proverbs 31:28 )Looking forward to Part 2.

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      Thank you Yvonne for the words of encouragement, and for the verse!!!
      You and your family are a blessing.

  12. Rebekah February 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Semper Fi

  13. Debra February 24, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    I don’t have boys, just two little girls. But this article and some of the comments speak to me that perhaps I haven’t let me husband be the man. I absolutely know the feeling of “I’m the female and I just know better”. Especially when it comes to things of the home. I can’t see it clearly, but perhaps my attitude is the reason he admitted recently that he doesn’t feel like a man when he is around me. He is the one that has the tendency to be emotional and want to talk things out and I am more matter-of-fact and hide my feelings. I feel like he just isn’t the “man” of the family and I want him to be. I have backed off in some areas such as just offering a suggestion of praying together as a family or Bible reading together and then left it at that and not kept pushing. And guess what, we pray and read the Bible together after supper now! But what about the rest of the time? Such a hard thing as others have said to surrender to Christ and to our husbands. How can I help him feel like the man of the family even if he doesn’t do “manly” things like sports or hunting or seeking thrills?

    • Lisa February 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

      This is interesting, Debra, because I had a similar thought. Our first child will be a girl, but I realized that my tendency to worry and fret probably can and does get in the way of allowing my husband to be the man God created him to be. I need to allow him to pursue interests like learning how to use firearms properly in order to protect his family, and trust that he will be responsible. I actually apologized to him last night for any ways that I have emasculated him unintentionally. It will be hard to remember and put this into practice, but I think it will be worth it, for the Kingdom, for our marriage, and for our daughter to see a godly man.

    • Lisa February 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      Also, I think perhaps a good way to help your husband feel like the man of the family even though he doesn’t like traditionally manly things is to encourage and honor the man God made him to be. He may not like hunting, but he is still the head of the household, so honoring him in that role and stepping back and allowing him to make decisions will, I think, go a long way towards helping him feel like the man of the family. I think it’s more about the role than about the trappings, like hunting or shooting, if that makes sense.

      • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

        “. . . honor the man God made him to be . . . honoring him in that role (as head of the household) and stepping back and allowing him to make decisions will, I think, go a long way towards helping him feel like the man of the family.”

        Great thoughts, Lisa!

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm #


      You mention some things that so many of us deal with.Those “suggestions” to our husband often come across as pushing and nagging and leading. It’s tricky sometimes and giving those things to God demands some big heart-areas of surrender and trust.

      As women, so many times we want to define everything. We want everything in (our) order. And we want our husbands to lead us (in the way we want to go). My daughter laughed about this years ago as God was bringing conviction to her attitudes. She wanted a husband who would lead — but she wanted to keep going her own way (at the time, she thought about how a farmer uses a cattle prod to shock the cows up in front . . . ).

      There are so many ways we make our man feel like the head of the family. We show respect. We listen. We help him in the things that are important to him. We admire his manly qualities . . . and his muscles . . . and the way he can open jars and kill bugs. And the ways he shows love and concern for the kids. We appreciate how he works hard and provides for the family. Or brings us to church. Or how he loves the Bible. We admire him because he is “OUR MAN” and the LOVE OF OUR LIFE!!!

    • Jaimi March 8, 2012 at 9:46 am #

      Debra, I can completely relate to your thoughts and situation. My husband in many ways is not the man I thought I would marry, and it has taken quite a few years of marriage, and many a prayer to God to help me release what are my preconceived ideas about a husband. In reality, you and your husband are married to partner up and balance each other. I have to force myself to be mindful of this in my own marriage by remembering that he is more calm, and clear-headed in stressful situations, so it is best to listen to his judgments and feedback before I act on things (not that he needs to always be in charge, but in some situations it is best for our household), but on the other hand, I am the financially minded one, even though he makes all the money, he does not manage it since that is my strength. We are fairly atypical from traditional ideas of a marriage, and yet very traditional in others since he is the breadwinner and I am a SAHM. I completely understand how frustrating it can be to recognize how we as women sometimes can suffocate the ‘manliness’ of our men, and it is also energizing that we hold that much strength to encourage it! I’ll be praying for you as I try to be better about the same things in my days.

  14. Danette February 24, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Great article. Love it! Warriors, not worriers! The Kingdom of God is advancing! Our boys hunger for adventure – and the greatest place that can be found is in HIS Kingdom.

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      AMEN, DANETTE (and I’m assuming you’re the Danette I think you are!!!)

      Thank you for raising such incredible sons (on the mission field in West Africa) . . . including your oldest son, who is about to become my guy too.

      I just got a glimpse of the wedding announcement today. It’s so exciting.

      I LOVE YOU!!!

  15. Erika February 24, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    I am so thankful that this is only part 1. I am eagerly anticipating the next few!

    I so agree with you: “we need to raise our boys for daring kingdom leadership.” Yet even as I begin this journey I find myself continually asking HOW? What does that look like? I have much to learn and am very thankful and excited for the opportunity to learn from you!

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm #


      We’re all learning and growing. And praise God, He is our primary teacher!!!
      He takes us step-by-step and day-by-day.

  16. Huong February 24, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Ann, you are my new hero. Your post was a huge encouragement and reminder for me. I’m a mom of three 3 boys – 19 months, 3 1/2, 5 1/2. My husband and I moved to Thailand about 7 months ago for long term missions and because of what this country is known for I have been very fearful of harm coming upon my boys, but I am reminded today – fear NO THING! Be a warrior in prayer and not a worrier! I wish I could just watch of video of how you raised your boys to be such fearless men because so many days I’m wondering if what I’m doing as a mom is nurturing or hindering their manhood! Thank you for your post and looking forward to reading part 2!

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      Huong — May God bless you and your husband and your boys as you are ministering for the Lord in Thailand! Thank you for your heart for the people and for Jesus.

  17. Krystle February 24, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    As a wife of one and a mom of three, I am a natural control freak. I constantly fight the internal voice that tells me I know better. It’s no surprise that men are falling behind while women “excel”. What are women excelling at, exactly? I believe it’s a push to be who we were not meant to be and fill roles we weren’t meant to take on. If we don’t let our men be men the only thing left to do is be the woman. Speaking for myself, I am the one responsible for this in my home and it’s my stubborn disrespect of my husband that leads to his insecurities which lead me to disrespect him more. Agh! He has no requirement to check in with me and yet I make it my business. I need to remember that my kids see me do this and I can expect nothing but the same from them when they get older. Thank God for His forgiveness and daily new mercies!

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Thank you, Krystle, for your feedback and input.
      It really is a big challenge for us in today’s feminist-oriented, me-oriented, self-centered world. It’s so upside-down from God’s plan and His way (which is to take up our cross and to live a wholehearted surrendered life). May God help us to be the beautiful women (and yes, strong, as warrior women . . . but submitted to God) . . . so our MEN can be MEN.

      I really appreciate your excellent input. Many of us deal with these same challenges, which you articulated so well. Yes, thank God for His forgiveness and daily new mercies!!!!


  18. Kenedi - Real Food Whole Life February 24, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Hi Ann,

    Just happened across your blog today. I really enjoyed this post, and what an inspiration to a young mama with toddlers. Thank you for sharing.

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      You’re welcome Kenedi! Blessings on you and your kiddos!!! :)

  19. Kirstie February 24, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    I’ve never commented here before but I love stopping by. I loved this post not only because it is inspiring to me as a mama, but I’m currently pregnant and have struggled a lot with worry during this pregnancy since I lost the last one. This was a really good reminder of how I had been letting the worries creep back in after stamping them out and sending them packing about a month ago. Thank you… you just never know how your writing is going to touch someone and in what way, do you?

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Kristi, Have you ever heard of this little song? It’s from Psalm 56.
      I used to sing it as a little girl:

      When I am afraid I put my trust in Thee,
      In God Who’s Name I praise.
      In God I trust without a fear
      I put my trust in Thee.
      What can man do to me?

      Kristie, this word is just for you:


      Do not worry, Kristie. Your life, and your little baby’s life (and even your precious little one’s life who is up in heaven) — are ALL in God’s mighty hand.

      May you be filled with God’s peace.

      • Kirstie February 24, 2012 at 9:21 am #

        Thank you for your encouragement! Trusting in Him as He takes care of this little one,

  20. Nicole February 24, 2012 at 12:24 am #


  21. Stephanie February 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Wow! I’m just awed (and teary-eyed) by all I’ve read in this post and in your advice to commenters. My own little man is 3 and I pray daily as I tuck him in bed for God to give me wisdom on raising him so he’ll become an awesome warrior for our Lord. But, I have to confess that fear often invades my heart and mind in different areas surrounding my own children. (BTW, I LOVE how you refer to your girls as Daring Daughters and will have to steal this term for my own princesses.) This post is a timely one for my heart. I’m hoping I can print it in its entirety after I’m done commenting and stick it in my journal for repeated readings so I am reminded to “cast all my cares on Him” and to be “anxious for nothing.” I want to be a WARRIOR and not a worrier. Thank you for following God’s lead on what to blog about in this post.

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 7:13 am #

      Dear Stephanie,

      You’re so encouraging to share how this article and comments have blessed and encouraged you. I appreciate how you refer to your 3-year-old son as your “LITTLE MAN.” I think as moms that attitude is so good. Yes, we are raising our boys to be WARRIOR MEN for God, and He will help us to be warriors too. It’s a daily on-going process of seeking God’s wisdom to parent by FAITH (and not fear), and to also be diligent parents to train our guys to love and to follow the Lord.

      Even right now, I’m continually trusting God for our own sons. One is just returning from a mission trip in Central America . . . and another son is on a GLOBAL ADVENTURE (traveling all over the world, right now in South America — you can click on the link to see how our family is using this global trip updates to learn and to pray about the world. It’s a fun way to learn about world missions!).

      I SO appreciate your kind words, Stephanie, and your encouragement to other moms. Blessings to you and your family!

  22. Blessed Mama February 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Wow! This is awesome! We have two boys and two girls. My husband is so great in leading our boys in godly and manly appropriate behaviors and activities. I do have a question though…My husband is active duty, has been for 11 1/2 years. so deployments and him being gone have been routine for our family. I notice though as our boys get older that these times of Daddy being absent are difficult for our young men who are so used to a strong role model, leader, and friend. As he prepares for this next deployment, do you have any advice on how to handle this. And oh…lol…tell me again about the worry about No Thing!:) lol thanks, Carrie

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      Carrie — “Blessed Moma” — This WORD is just for you:

      Be anxious for nothing. Do not fear. Fear NOTHING. NO THING. Not even ONE THING!!!

      May God help you during this upcoming deployment. I pray right now for God to surround your husband with His protection and mighty warrior angels, and to cover him by the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ. May your husband be a light wherever he goes. And like Psalms 91, may God be his shield and refuge.

      As for “advice” — oh my. You’re so sweet to think I would have something to say.

      It sounds to me like you’re on the right track, and that God has blessed you with a wonderful husband — “a strong role model, leader, and friend.”

      Here are a few thoughts:

      Keep an ear out for those special words of advice and leadership that your husband is speaking over your boys, so you can ECHO those words to your boys while he is gone. Even though you are speaking them, as your guys hear them spoken out-loud, they will “hear” your husband.

      When my husband is gone, I like refer to my guys as the “men” of the house. I even have my boys take turns sitting in the “dad”chair at the dining room table. And I have my guys help me with increasing responsibility (and “man” work). I treat my boys like young men, and expect them to live up to that call (and my boys appreciate it).

      Another thought is maybe you and your husband could ask a few other men in your boys’ lives to “step in” for a bit while your husband is gone. Perhaps a grandpa or an uncle or a godly man in your church who could take a little time with your boys (but not with you — obviously — as a woman of God, you need to guard your marriage). Or perhaps even a godly college guy, or a godly teenage guy (who your boys look up to) could step in once in a while to be a like a big-brother to encourage your boys during the time your husband is on his deployment. Maybe your husband could even ask them before he leaves. If I were you, I would talk it over with your husband, and ask for his ideas and wisdom . . .

      And remember . . . NO THING!!! May the Lord help you.

      Don’t worry. Be happy!!! :)

  23. Senoritaorisa February 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    I have three boys, eldest is 3 years old and 21 month old twins. I truly needed this WORD! I have not been the warrior in prayer that I know I need to be.

    • ADunagan February 24, 2012 at 7:23 am #


      Wow, three active little guys, including TWIN BOYS!
      You’re a triple-blessed mom!!!

      May God help you to be that warrior in prayer, and may He give you wisdom for the two’s and three’s. It’s a busy time. The world calls those years “the terrible two’s”; but our family always liked to call those years “THE TEACHABLE TWO’S” (and three’s). Those strategic years are foundational for training and instilling a heart to obey. Simple consistency and loving discipline during those younger years makes such a HUGE difference when our boys are in their ‘tweens and teenage years.

      By being consistent with boundaries and discipline is vital, especially during those days when momma is tired and worn-out. We instill in our kids the love of God and the fear of God.

      Blessings to you, sister!

  24. Jessica February 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Mrs. Dunagan,
    Thank you so much for sharing. I am a mother of three girls and one two-year old son. Before our son came along, I was good with our girls. I was a girl. I could raise girls. My husband prayed that God would bless our family with more testosterone and God answered that prayer. I have to admit I was a bit fearful at first. I have brothers and I knew the mischief and mayhem they created. But God knew what our family needed and I am blessed by our little man. You’re words definitely challenged me not only for my son, but also for my husband. It was excellent reminder to let him pursue adventure and be the man God created him to be. Thank you again and I will be following your blog from here on out and I look forward for more.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm #


      Thanks for your sweet words, and “YAY” for your husband’s answered prayers!!! :)

  25. Kelly February 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Dear Ann,
    Thank you so much for this post. As mommy to 3 (2 boys, 1 girl), with a husband who works 12 hour shifts in the ER, I needed this reminder. My husband and I fervently desire and pray that our boys will grow to be mighty men in God’s Kingdom, who forcefully advance the rule and reign of our King. However, while my husband does a wonderful job of fathering and coaching our boy (our littlest man is only 6 months…he’s working on advancing his teeth first!), I often feel overwhelmed at the task of cultivating and encouraging their masculine hearts. As I was reading your thoughts, I realized it is due to the root issue that you so wisely exposed: fear. Whether it’s fear of an injury, fear of loss, or simply fear of having a child that appears to be “out of control,” I am far too susceptible to worry and anxiety in the arena of growing men. The Father used this post to shed light into several areas where fear has gotten the upper-hand when it comes to my children. Thank you for sharing your wisdom on this and I am looking forward to Part 2!

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Kelly — Isn’t it so awesome that God takes us tiny baby steps at a time. Blessings to you and your husband and on your 3 kids, including that littlest man of God, as he’s getting his first teeth!!! :)

  26. lyss February 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Wow! Thank you for this article! As much as I desire to live by faith, I find myself sometimes full of fear and worry! I’ve been fearful about my husband’s upcoming mission trip to the Amazon. We recently both spent 2 weeks in PNG, and I didn’t really worry there, but I’ve been worrying about this one. Maybe because I’m not going with him? I don’t know. But thanks for the reminder that I need to let him go and be a blessing, trusting that the Lord will take care of him!

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      Iyss — If it helps, I will say that it does get easier.

      When my husband first started going on dangerous mission trips without me (especially to war-torn areas or to places where he wasn’t able to communicate with me, as I was home with our babies and little ones), I used to CRY and feel so SO sad. But I gave every fear and every little thing (even specifically — surrendering “out-loud” our futures and even every future specific dream and hope) into God’s hand. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I know God can do anything and I trust Him. He can save us from the fire . . . “but even if He does not” I will not bow to that idol of fear. I know that many men of God have lost their lives for the sake of the cross. And whatever happens in the future, God will help me. But I trust Him (like in Psalms 91) “with long life will He satisfy and show His salvation.” I’ve already given it all. It’s a done deal.

      Now, I make the most of the time I have with the kids while he’s gone. Sometimes, I still get sad. And sometimes I have “pangs” of URGENT feelings of needing to pray (which actually feel a little similar to fear, but I can usually tell the difference). These urgent feelings are a call to pray and to intercede.

      Blessings to your husband as he goes on this mission to the Amazon . . . and GRACE TO YOU, dear sister, as you cast aside FEAR and step into FAITH to hold up your fort and your family at home (and as you uphold your husband in prayer).

      You’re a TEAM!!!

  27. Becca February 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Awesome, Ann!
    I have two boys – a two year old and 8 day old and pray constantly that they will be Godly men. Men of great character, integrity, wisdom, discernment, work ethic, etc. I am SO proud to read of the men in your family – PRAISE GOD and I’m sure you worked tirelessly to build them up in the Lord.

    I loved your line, “If I want my men to be dangerous for the kingdom of God, I need to be dangerous too. Over the years, God has shown me that I need to be WARRIOR in prayer and intercession, and not a WORRIER.” Great reminder! Can’t wait to read part 2.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Oh my, Becca!!!! You have an 8-day-old baby boy!!! WOW!!!

      Congratulations on your brand-new baby. I “AMEN” your prayer for your boys. May they both become mighty MEN of God!!! (And may God give you strength and help in this transition time with a precious new little one.) I’m so happy for you!

  28. Jill February 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I really enjoy reading all your posts. You are so wise!

    HOW do you just not be afraid or not worry? I know that with fear there is no faith in God, but yet I still fear so many things. Do you just pray about it, and leave it there with God, and not grab onto it and worry again? And then press on with the day?

    And you also mentioned God’s daily grace. What does that mean? “God’s Grace” seems to be a term that is thrown around here and there, but I have a really hard time grasping what it really means in day to day living in different circumstances – like when my day seems like a total disaster with my little ones, and it’s not even lunch time yet, or we put our home up for sale, and I don’t see the vision or direction we’re going when my husband does, or raising my little kids to love God and to stand for him and not fall away.

    • Ann Dunagan February 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Jill — your questions are awesome and so filled with a genuine desire and heart to grow. Thank you for asking!!! Living without fear is not always easy; it’s a battle; but God can help us.

      Something I love to do is to get God’s Word into my heart, through reading or listening or thinking about specific Bible verses that speak HIS TRUTH that is often the exact opposite of how I’m feeling. I struggle all the time with negative feelings — perhaps somewhat like “attacks” to my mind of discouragement and frustration and yes, even fear.


      Have you ever heard of a little game called “Name that tune”? The game is to try to guess a song with only a few notes. I sometimes think about this as I’m trying to identify the negative voices of the enemy (the devil or my own selfish and fearful nature). The quicker I can identify the LIES swirling around in my brain (that are opposite of God’s TRUTH), the quicker I can ask God for His help.

      In 2 Corinthians 10:5 the Bible says, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” If I recognize an “argument” that’s against God’s truth and against faith, I cast it down. I choose NOT to follow my feelings. I bring my thoughts into alignment to God.


      Sometimes, I also think about the verse (John 14:1), “LET NOT your heart be troubled; believe in God . . . “ or Hebrews 10:23, “Let us HOLD FAST the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…” I sometimes think about holding a leash of a crazy dog that wants to run away. My thoughts are sometimes CRAZY too, and totally out-of-whack with what God wants. But I need to HOLD FAST to the truth and bring those crazy thoughts under God’s control.


      As for GRACE. You’re right about this word being an often-used Christian “lingo” word that’s tossed around without everybody knowing what it means.

      GRACE is a little word that has a HUGE impact to our life. We can study about GOD’S GRACE for weeks, months, and years. I’ve heard SO many different sermons and even multiple series-of-sermons on this very topic. But if I could just boil it all down to a little bite-sized “nugget” — I would just say that GRACE is God’s supernatural POWER and help (that’s totally undeserved and nothing to do with our own self-efforts — but totally because of ALL that Jesus did through His life, death, and resurrection).

      Whatever God wants us to do, asks us to do, or tells us to do, He will supernaturally give us the POWER and help to do it. I simply TRUST GOD that if HE has called me to do something (and I feel like I can’t do it), He will enable me to obey. He will help me. He will help us TO DO what is right, and He will help us TO NOT DO what is wrong. It’s not by our own strength or power. It’s by God’s strength.

      And God is so awesome. He takes us step-by-step. Even little tiny baby-steps of trust.

      As for your question about how to “not fall away,” there are some verses from 2 Peter 1:1-10 “if you do these things you will never stumble;” and Psalm 121:3 says, “He will not allow your foot to slip.”

      God will help us.

      And Jill, He will help YOU right now in the midst of all the challenges of motherhood and moving . . . and everything. I’m not saying it will just always be easy. But I am saying that God will be there to help you and to give you the POWER and STRENGTH to walk WITH HIM.

      • Jill February 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

        Ann, I can’t thank you enough for taking your precious time to reply to my questions, and how God has used your words of clarity to bring clarity to my mind about what grace means!! The little nugget about grace has really helped me understand God’s grace and to just start to maybe see it minute-by-minute during my days. Thank you for all the verses too! My goal and personal quest this year is to “Delight myself in the Lord” and I’m trying to figure out all what that means and how to do it. I think that one way God is showing me is to immerse myself more in his word – get it into my heart like you suggested – reading during my quiet time, listening to a quick verse or something while I prepare breakfast for my kids, and listening to some verses in an audio-Bible on my ipod thing while I fold clothes, or something like that. Through this, I can see that I will learn to more easily recognize God in my day-to-day goings-ons, and also to call out the lies that lead me to fear, too, like you mentioned. Thank you so much for shedding light on this for me! You are so wise, and thank you for sharing with all of us!

  29. Chrisy February 23, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Thanks so much for addressing, and encouraging all of us with your words, and testimony! There are several warrior hearts in my family, the closest one to MY heart is my sweet husband who is deployed at the moment. He is a Police Officer at home, and serves in the Army National Guard Reserve. Before we got married, we spoke extensively about this concept of raising boys to be men. Now that we have a little man of our own, we are trying to be vigilant in teaching him to have a kind heart, a warrior heart, and be Mighty in Spirit for the Lord. Jonathan is 1yrs old, and while his daddy is away, I am praying that I stay the course in fostering his adventurous spirit, and not hover too much! Worry is always my worst enemy, and the Lord is refining me on a daily basis to surrender my emotions and thoughts to Him, and truly TRUST HIm with the men that I love. Your post has given me great encouragement, and really long to balance having a mama heart of compassion, and teaching my son to be a strong and courageous man! The Lord is training me to be strong and courageous in the process!

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 9:22 am #


      Dear Chrisy,

      May God hold you up right now with His strong arms, and through the prayers of family and friends who love you and your husband and your young son. Keep remembering that FAITH is the opposite of FEAR. And God has a daily GRACE for you as a wife and mom (similar to the grace He had for me as my son’s mom when he was deployed in such a dangerous area in Afghanistan). You can walk in that DAILY GRACE!!! He is with you, and He is with your husband. Right now, I even pray that God will lead several other moms who are reading these comments, to uphold you and your little Jonathan in prayer.


  30. Lanai February 23, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Wow! This is great! While we have 1 daughter right now, this applies to us as well. I need to learn to be a fearless wife/mother with my husband and daughter as well. If I can learn this now, it will make all the difference later in life. I pray this pierces the hearts of individuals reading this, may eyes and hearts be opened, and God be glorified through the change in our hearts.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      Lanai, I’m actually encouraging our DARING DAUGHTERS (a group of tween/teen girls who have a heart for world missions) to read this article — specifically to begin preparing their hearts by praying for the guys in their life — for their brothers, their dads, and even for their future husbands.

  31. Sherry February 23, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Ann, I am so grateful for your encouragement here! It can be very difficult not to have our wife-and-momma-heart be full of worry for our men and boys doing dangerous work and we can smother them by it. I have one other issue I wrestle with and am hoping you might be able to address it some in part 2: How do you raise manly men in the suburbs? We are hopeful to someday be in a place with more space and opportunity for our boys to explore and have more physical work, but it isn’t on the immediate horizon. My husband does an amazing job providing work opportunities and bringing our ten-year-old son alongside him in work around the house and even at some military functions. But in everyday life we still find it challenging to keep boys occupied when you live in a suburb. I contend that boys were not made for suburban life! But this is where God has us for now and there must be ways to help our men where we’re at! Any thoughts here?

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      Sherry, I really appreciate your question, as there are likely a LOT of moms in this same situation of living in the city or the suburbs.

      On the “no” side, I would really guard against the typical empty-activities that are molding and shaping the majority of young guys. For our family (and this doesn’t matter where you live) we have completely avoided network TV, almost totally avoided video games (either no video games, or only a few hours of selected non-violent or evil games a week), and we have really guarded our boys’ (and our girls’ for that matter) in their close friendships. Whenever kids or teens just “hang-out” with nothing to do (whether in a mall or a park or out with rebellious-looking kids) it’s not usually a healthy situation. Kids need to be active and around good people. I tell my kids, “The friends you choose do not only influence your life, but they TELL me where your heart is, right now!” This is huge.

      On the “yes” side, I would encourage some sort of SPORTS or ATHLETICS (which may or may not be a time-consuming team sport) and HARD WORK. I grew up in a large city, with a sister and 4 brothers. Although there is definitely a more intensely “rugged” influence on everyone in my husband’s family (who grew up on an old dairy farm with 9 kids, including 6 boys who were all wrestlers), my brothers are also quite active and adventurous. Suburban/city activities that “toughened-up” my brothers, in a good way, were cross country running, long-distance biking, and making money by doing hard-working jobs like painting or yard work. Even today, my brothers and nephews (who live in a suburban area) are active in sports (such as basketball, biking, tennis, racquetball, soccer, and running). They compete in triathlons and enjoy summertime camping, rock-climbing, and world traveling.

      COMMUNITY SERVICE and being a hard-working volunteer is also a great use of time (during high school, all of our boys put in over 1000 hours of community service).

      Anything that takes DILIGENCE and CONSISTENT effort is great (even schoolwork, extra-curricular leadership, reading good books, or learning a musical instrument, like playing the guitar or piano). Although music might not seem as masculine, being a man who can WORSHIP and lead others in worship is powerful for the kingdom of God!

      And we can show our kids good role models. Just yesterday (at a prolife event), I had the honor of meeting Pam Tebow (mom of NFL quarterback Tim Tebow). The Tebow family raised their kids in the Philippines. As homeschoolers who weren’t even living in America, Mrs. Tebow was told that her kids would never be able to go to college, and would never be able to play sports. But she and her husband just gave everything to God. I had a chance to talk with her and ask her advice on raising a son who is so strong for God, even in such a harsh non-Christian environment as the NFL. She told me the key is to totally surrender your kids to God, and to NOT BE AFRAID.

    • Lisa February 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      I wanted to chime in here. We don’t have sons yet; however, I see the desire in my husband to get out and away from the suburbs from time to time. When he is able, he’ll schedule a “guy’s day” shooting trip to a favorite remote place about an hour’s drive away. When we are at home, he works. Hard! He has such a servant’s heart and loves to serve not just our little family, but others as well. One of the ways he does this is by using his skills to repair things around people’s houses or help them move. Our friends know that if you want a tough job done, call my husband! I can see that if we have a son someday, he will learn from Daddy’s example and hopefully become a servant leader like his earthly father.

  32. Melody February 23, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Thank you for the encouragement Mrs. Dunagan! I have 2 very little boys and they are already climbing/wrestling/attacking everything they can get their hands on :) This is such a good reminder for me that I need to encourage that (within reason) and let them be boys. I would enjoy having some little girls someday, but until then I need to raise up my BOYS! :) Thank you so much for your testimony – I need the encouragement of a Godly vision for the future.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      EXTRA GRACE to you, dear Melody!!!

      We definitely have had a bunch of living-room wrestling matches over the years!!!

  33. Mrs. JFG February 23, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    As a soon to be mother of a son, this was great encouragement! I have done some research in the past (B.S. in Psychology) about the importance of boys being taught how to be men. It looks easy on paper, but has a whole different meaning to me as I am faced with being the mother of a boy! Thank you for addressing a practical way for us moms (and wives) to encourage proper growth in our families.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 8:03 am #

      You’re so welcome, Mrs. JFG!
      God’s blessings to you and your son.

  34. Kellie February 23, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Hello! This is such a perfectly timed article for us. God is so good like that :) I have an 11 yo son that is making that wonderful transition to young adulthood. I’m needing ideas to engage him in “manly” pursuits. So I can’t wait for Part 2! Can you please include ideas that we can use inside the house, too? I love all the outdoor ideas, but sometimes chopping wood, fishing, etc. aren’t feasible for for some families or during some seasons in a family’s life. What can I do to encourage manliness inside?? I hate video games, but boy howdy…boys sure love them! Do you have a good reading list for boys…or hobbies…or whatever? I love, love your ministry! May God continue to bless all you do in service to Him!

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 7:47 am #

      Kellie — great questions!!! I had two of my boys, who are right here with me, help with a couple answers:

      A good BOY book my 11-year-old son has been reading lately (which was a gift from his oldest brother) is The Dangerous Book of Heroes by Conn Iggulden and David Iggulden. It’s not a Christian book, but it highlights many excellent heroes from world history. It’s by the same author as The Dangerous Book for Boys. I also like The Book of Virtues, by William Bennett (although that’s not necessary just for boys). And of course, GREAT Missionary adventure books, and THE BIBLE (just a few days ago, our youngest son finished reading the whole Bible, ending with Malachi)!!!

      I also recommend good board games that encourage logic and adventurous risk-taking, like Risk – or The Seafarers (or Settlers) of Catan, or Chess. Right in front of me, I’m actually looking at this elaborate board game my boys made themselves, with board pieces and intricate clay knights and armies. Our boys also enjoy playing with legos, and army guys, and GI-Joes, they make some amazing forts out of blocks and cardboard.

  35. Deb February 23, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    This was so encouraging and challenging to me, and very timely! My husband and I have two boys and hope to have another baby soon. I’ve really been struggling (I know it’s silly!) with whether or not we’ll have a girl-my husband’s side of the family is almost ALL boys. I know my attitude has been wrong about it. I haven’t been viewing my boys as an opportunity to raise godly men to serve the Lord. What if God WANTS me to have all boys? I’ve never even considered that until now . . . And I definitely need to work on not worrying!

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      Deb, I can so relate to your feelings.

      Our first two kiddos were boys, and by the time I was pregnant with our third baby, I adjusted my heart to prepare to raise another mighty man for God! For us, that third one was a girl (who is a very daring daughter), and then we had two more boys.

      It was after that 5th pregnancy (and my 4th boy), when I went through an “attitude-surrender” similar to what you’re going through. I so wanted a sister for my girl, but I had to really give it to God. My side of the family is almost ALL boys (I have 4 brothers and one adopted sister, my brother and sister-in-law have only 4 boys, and another brother and sister-in-law have only 3 boys).

      For us, God’s pattern was “boy-boy-girl,boy-boy-girl,boy” — but He has the PERFECT pattern and selection for you, and will give you the GRACE and the JOY to raise each child for His kingdom!!!

    • Priscilla February 24, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

      I can also relate. We had 3 boys, then a girl, then 2 more boys which equals 6 children total or 5 boys & 1 girl. Now it is too risky for me to have additional biological children. We are open to the thought of adding to our family through adoption, our desire would be girls. Some day, we do hope to have more girls in the family. by the way of daughter-in-laws :)

      I will admit that boys & girls are different. There are days, I’m glad I only have 1 daughter…I’m not sure I could handle the reverse ratio, 5 girls & 1 son.

      I’m thankful for having boys before our girl. My oldest son was 10 yrs old before my daughter (4th child) was born. I taught the boys how to help in the kitchen, they have learned good life skills that they will have the rest of their life. If I had given birth to daughters first, I do not know if I would have taught my sons how to work in the kitchen.

      Their dad does see to it that the boys know manly skills. My husband helps in his own way in the kitchen, some times he prepares meals or part of a meal, such as grilling meat :)

  36. bobbi February 23, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    SO fun and SO true… I married a former marine (ok once a marine always one!!) But he is a amazing man of God… WE have a 14month old daughter and 3 week old son!!! and no we are not done. BUT my husband read Derek Prince’s book Husbands and Fathers, he spoke so highly of it i know that now that i am to raise a son, a future husband and father i need to read this book too! (OUTSIDE of the Bible being the Greatest resource we have of course!)
    But thank you, this is such a needed topic, I want to raise a MAN, i want my husband to have that freedom to explore and live as God made him to.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 8:02 am #


  37. Chasity February 23, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    What a great post. My little fella is under 2, but I’ve seen how quickly our 4 year old girl has grown up, so I’m sure that he’s to follow that quick time pattern:) I had not heard of roles for men and women until I was a freshmen in college, so I’m thankful for the faithfulness of God to teach me His wise design through His Word and His children like you.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      it’s exciting, Chasity, to hear how you’re growing in the Lord.

      Yes, and along with “roles” for men (and women), we need to have good “role-models” for our kids to look up to — from biblical examples and Christian heroes of faith (in all spheres of society), to local real-life people to admire. Sometimes, we can even teach our boys to admire particular traits with respect and honor (perhaps in a financially wise uncle or a hard-working grandpa) even if other areas (perhaps in their spiritual life) are not exemplary.

  38. Tracie February 23, 2012 at 5:12 am #

    Thank you for this timely post! I have two boys ages 7 and 4. I am looking forward to part 2 of this post. I hope that you will cover some ideas on how to help them be men, even at a young age. Sometimes, as a homeschool mom with them all day long, I feel at a lost for “manly” activities for them to do. Thanks for the reminder to be anxious for nothing!

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 5:37 am #

      Stay tuned . . . part 2 covers some practical HOW-TO ideas.

      My husband has really given the leadership for raising our boys. He encourages our boys to get outside and to work hard and to enjoy wholesome “guy” stuff like salmon and sturgeon fishing, or hiking and camping. One big thing my husband emphasizes to our boys is not just playing video games or “watching” sports like couch-potatoes (besides, we don’t like beer commercials blaring into our living room and our guys would rather be “on the field” themselves, vs. just being a spectator).

      With little boys, we need to let ‘em get dirty (or even to sleep outside in the backyard). And we need to teach them to do MAN-stuff (like hauling wood or shoveling snow, or encouraging them to do push-ups and pull-ups and being proud of their progress and their growing muscles!!!). As our boys entered their teenage years, we’ve also made good use of a giant wood-chopping pile (an hour or two in our “purgatory” as we call it, is a great discipline-tool for bad attitudes)!

  39. Rachel February 23, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    Thank you so much for this post! This is something that has been on my heart, especially as my oldest boy (I have 4 boys and 1 girl) is nearing the tween/teen years. As a Mom, I desperately want my guys to turn out to be godly men. It sounds like you are doing a spectacular job and your sons can be great role models for other young men.

    • ADunagan February 23, 2012 at 4:43 am #

      Appreciate your feedback, Rachel!

      WOW, 4 boys!!! What an honor for you to be momma of so many future MEN. May God give you wisdom as you’re raising your boys for His Kingdom.

      It’s definitely a daily process of surrendering to God and relying on His grace.