Every day of raising boys is an adventure! They are busy, busy, busy! They wake up full of energy and questions, and sometimes they wake ME up with their energy and questions.
With the near demise of an agrarian society, it has become harder than ever to keep boys busy with really useful work. We want to raise adventurers who are courageous and respect the world God has given us to live in, but we find ourselves staring at concrete and manicured lawns most days. So, how do we keep boys busy when we live in the city?
The list below is to help you brainstorm. I’m sure each one will give you something to think about, consider, and adapt to your own family circumstances.
- Make a list of odd jobs they can do around the house.
- Give them tools for birthdays and holidays – REAL tools.
- Give them jobs to do with their tools.
- Teach them to exercise (by modeling the habit yourself).
- Teach them to organize things – start with something like separating Legos by color, and move onto separating out parts in a toolbox or tackle in a tackle box.
- Give them flashlights, magnifying glasses, binoculars, and cameras.
- Give them a bucket of water and paint brushes and send them outside to paint the house or the trees.
- Teach them to study nature and interact with it by looking at insects and keeping a bird feeder.
- Take them places. A trip to the store, the park, your office, the DMV – these can all be opportunities to learn and grow.
- Get them a library card (and make it a big deal).
- Take them to the library often.
- Amass your own collection of books. Encourage reading!
- Keep playdough and crafting clay on hand.
- Camp in the backyard.
- Enroll them in Scouts or 4-H (and go with them to meetings!).
- Put them in charge of caring for a family pet.
- Teach them to research the things they are interested in.
- Share your hobby with them, and encourage their own hobbies.
- Play games with them.
- Let them listen to radio shows and audio dramas.
- Teach them skills like leatherworking, whittling, cooking, hunting.
- Take them star-gazing.
- Get outside often.
- Give them the opportunity to grow something.
- Take them to visit others.
- Teach them how to see opportunities to bless others and to seize those opportunities.
- Give them opportunities to volunteer inside and outside the home.
- Give them your time, not stuff.
- Limit their screen time.
- Always be discussing things. (politics, social issues, school subjects)
- Encourage them to be men.
There is so much more that could be said on this topic, but this is a starting point. And it’s not about finding the perfect starting point, as much as it is about actually beginning. Boys like to be busy, but the key is to teach them to be busy at something useful, and to teach them to eventually keep themselves busy with their own interests and the interests of others.