Overcome the Fear of Water and Have a Good Time: Take Your Son Swimming this Summer!

Overcome the Fear of Water and Have a Good Time: Take Your Son Swimming this Summer!

Aquaphobia is a persistent and abnormal fear of water – WikiPedia

OK, so maybe your son does not have aquaphobia, but you should still take your son swimming anyway!

Have you ever met someone who could not swim as an adult? Normally there is a reason rooted in a childhood experience for why they never learned to swim. While they may certainly make the choice as an adult to learn, it is our job as parents to help boys not only overcome any fears associated with swimming, but also teach him to become a good swimmer who is able to tread water successfully on his own. 

When should you do this?

Right now! The Summer is ending and will soon be over for many of the northern states of the United States and the southern states have only 6-8 weeks left at most for outdoor swimming. With school about to begin, now is the perfect time to take your son swimming as a special one-on-one through your summer boredom busting.

Tips for a Safe Time

  • Don’t use the pool as your personal swim time. Enjoy it with your son and pay attention to what he is doing.
  • If your son is an inexperienced swimmer, use good lifeguard scanning techniques to keep an eye on him. Don’t count on a lifeguard even if they are watching the pool.

Tips for a Good Time

  • Bring water toys and dive down to get the toys.
  • Throw your son in the pool if you can lift him doing a “cannon”. OK, the lawyers probably don’t like that but boys need some adventure!
  • Bring a football and play catch in the pool.
  • If you go to a waterpark, don’t be scare and go on the big ominous water slide with him for a big memory!
  • Go underwater with him and make goofy faces and/or tickle him!

If you have already been swimming a lot this summer, keep going!

If you have swam only a few times or have yet to go, make sure you have a blast with him before the summer ends. While it may be too late for swimming lessons, consider enrolling him next spring or at a gym that offers lessons over the winter. Teach your son this valuable, life saving skill that will last a lifetime and build the confidence he needs!

Marco Polo!

[flag]NOTE: The content in this article is meant for providing practical information. Parents are strongly encouraged to exercise caution and practice safety while obeying local laws when swimming.[/flag]

Teach your son courage through conquering heights

Teach your son courage through conquering heights

I may climb perhaps to no great heights, but I will climb on. – Cyrano de Bergerac

Every time I leave the ground there is always a nervousness which accompanies me. Whether it be flying, looking out from a skyscraper, climbing a ladder to work on something in my home, or getting ready to jump off a diving board…it is there.

Is it fear? Is it nervousness? Is it both?

In the beginning for your son, it is both.

It is natural for you to be both afraid and fearful when in a high place or about to perform an activity that involves heights. However, one of two things happen.

  1. You overcome the experience through courageous thoughts that lead you to take that leap, get in that plane, jump off the diving board, or climb the rock wall.
  2. You are overcome by fear and leave the activity.

Your son must learn to overcome many fears in his life. The fear of heights, acrophobia,  is one such fear.

Let’s not confuse nervousness with fear. It is perfectly ok to be nervous when experiencing situations that involve heights. This is our body and minds response to the situation alerting us that normal safety is not present. We all feel this to some degree. The difference is how we react and whether we are controlled by the situation or in control of the situation.

We at ManBuilders believe your son will benefit from learning to be in control of the nervousness that leads to fear when experiencing activities with heights.

Ready to teach your son? Lets see how.

Teaching Opportunities

Regardless of what scenario you choose to use in teaching your son, always prepare him first and explain what is going to happen. The more information that your son has in advance the more likely he will be in handling it well. People are much more fearful when they do not feel in control and knowledge helps create a sense of control.

Checkout the many opportunities where you can teach your son healthy ways to discuss the fears associated with heights. In every case, exercise the proper amount of safety for the situation and stay with him.

  1. Climbing a tree.
  2. Jumping off a diving board in a swimming pool.
  3. Flying in an airplane.
  4. Hike to a high point/cliff and take in the view.
  5. Climb a rock wall (bouldering).
  6. Visit an observation deck in a skyscraper or tall building.
  7. Climb a ladder.

Recent Rock Camp Experience

Living in Aggieland, the home of Texas A&M University, presented a unique opportunity for my son Jordan through “Rock Camp” provided by the Recreation Center at Texas A&M University. This 5-Day camp provided 25 hours of rock wall climbing instruction. Prior to the experience, my son Jordan had never climbed a tree. Now, he can climb a 47′ Rock Wall. Amazing!

Giving him the opportunity to become courageous through heights has strengthened his confidence and put him one step closer to becoming a man.

Checkout this YouTube video of his 47′ Rock Wall climb and hear mom and dad cheering him on.

[embedplusvideo height=”281″ width=”450″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/12FBcMU” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/glEDbvFq_3k?fs=1&hd=1″ vars=”ytid=glEDbvFq_3k&width=450&height=281&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep5041″ /]

Teach your son to become courageous through conquering nervousness and fear that come with situations involving heights today! Do you have any stories or good activities to share with the community for teaching your son how to discuss situations involving heights?

Climb on!

A Father’s Day Call to Authentic Manhood

A Father’s Day Call to Authentic Manhood

Happy Father’s Day 2013 to all Fathers! Regardless of whether you feel like you succeeded, are succeeding, or failed  as a Father, it does not matter. You are honored today.

Yet, if you are engaged with your family and actively doing all that you can to lead them, then I want to Honor,  Commend,  and Encourage you to continue on in this worthy mission!

Sitting in the waiting room at a Dr. Offices, I read the following passage title “Priorities” framed on the wall.

When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now, I must look back on something more meaningful than the pursuit of house and land and machines and stocks and bonds. Nor is fame of any lasting benefit.

I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted, unless I can recall…

  • A loving family
  • A consistent investment in the lives of people
  • And an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me.

And there’s no better time than now to assess the values which are worthy of my time and effort. – Tom Seale

Did you hear that? 

There is no better time than Today to assess the values which are worthy of your time and effort?

Your son is worthy of your time and effort!

Ready to get Started? Take action now and assess your role as a Father and start making plans to Improve the Relationship with Your Son.

Review Your Schedule and Make Time

Do you have a schedule? Maybe you have not been this organized. I wasn’t and that’s ok. The irony is that I am very organized in the workplace and often serve as a project manager leading a variety of information technology projects. I know what it takes to be organized when I wear my workplace hat. However, my Strategic Father hat was not nearly as organized and it needed to be.

Think about what you’re recurring commitments are in a month and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does my work schedule normally look like? (e.g. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  2. What nights /days do I have commitments that I have to or really should attend? (e.g. Sports games, sports practices, community service, church, date nights, etc)
  3. What nights / days do I have commitments that I like to attend, but could drop if needed? (e.g. Hanging out with a friend,  thirsty Thursday, adult softball league, etc)
  4. When do I like to rest and unwind? (e.g. Sunday afternoons, Tuesday nights, etc

The Power of a One-on-One

My son’s love their one-on-one time with Dad. If I taught them nothing, let alone strategically taught them as you will through using ManBuilders, the one-on-one seals the knowledge of knowing that you love him. More than any skill that can be taught, your love and the quality of your relationship with him is the one that will outlast all others.

Free One-on-One Ideas

  • Walk to and then around a local park that has a playground
  • Spend time alone with him in his room. Shut the door, play with him, and talk.
  • Play make-believe/pretend with him outside and transform this into hide-and-seek.
  • Have a scavenger hunt for your son’s favorite toy (indoor or outdoor). Give him a reward when you find it!
  • Sing songs together. If you play a musical instrument, let your son join you and sing with you.
  • Explore in a patch of woods near your home. Pretend like you are in search of enemy soldiers or animals that you are hunting.

The Power of Positive Words

 15 Affirming Phrases

  1. You did a great job at…
  2. I believe in you…
  3. Let’s work on it together, so we can bust it out!
  4. I can see you have worked really hard. Thank you!
  5. I’m so glad you are my son.
  6. Son, you are good at…
  7. You used good judgement to solve that problem.
  8. I knew you could do it!
  9. What do you think the problem is?
  10. Let’s try teamwork.
  11. Do you have any ideas on how to solve this?
  12. I understand what you mean. How would you do it then?
  13. Let’s try this again, can you show me your way of doing it?
  14. Would you like to hear my idea?
  15. That might work. Let’s try it and see.

The Power of Positive Touch

Consider your son’s personality and let him lead you through the reaction provided during the touch. For example, you are walking to the playground at the park and listening to him go on about Transformers. You lay one of your hands on his shoulder while you are walking. Do this for about three seconds and then remove your hand. If he brushes your hand off of his shoulder immediately, no worries. You can try through another method that has a shorter duration.

The best tip we can give is that while speaking to him, place your hand on his shoulder when the moment is right. Connect with him!

Short-Duration Positive Touch

  1. High Fives
  2. Fist Bumps (Ask him to make a fist, then you make a fist, and then bump them together. Do this after saying “good job” or providing a compliment based on his action).
  3. Body Bumps (Bump your side into his while walking to jostle him a little bit. Do it while joking and make some kind of funny remark.)

Long-Duration Positive Touch

  1. Sitting on the couch watching a movie with your arm around him.
  2. Giving a hug for any length of time.
  3. Rock-Paper-Scissors games

The Power of Bragging on Your Son

The art of bragging on your son in front of others is an affirmation of who he is and what he means to you. Brag on him in front of:

  • Adults who are of good moral character. – Frequent
  • Teachers or Coaches. – Often
  • Your adult friends. – Often
  • His friends. – Sometimes

Be mindful of the conditions. When there is an informal setting of people such as the following you have an opportunity waiting in the wings.

  1. Sitting at the dinner table with guests visiting your home.
  2. Eating a meal together with others at a restaurant.
  3. At the park with friends.
  4. Before or after a sporting event in front of his coach.

Consider using the following phrases. The real truth is that this will just come naturally when the time permits. The important learning lesson is to be mindful that you do it.

  1. Last week, Jacob did a great job on his science studies and has shown some improvement. He is really putting effort into his work.
  2. I can’t believe the way Jordan acted when he missed that ball. Instead of getting embarrassed or angry, he acted with great character and I’m proud of him.
  3. Earlier today, Johnathan told me that he is going to work hard on making his bed consistently. I really appreciate that he takes what I have asked him seriously.
  4. Next week, Jonah will be tested for moving up a belt in Karate. He has been asking me to help him drill and prepare. Jonah is really dedicated and I am proud of him for his planning and perseverance.
  5. Jared is really great at reading. Just yesterday he read a book with me that was 30 pages long in under an hour. He really does well.

Happy Fathers Day! Get rocking and start working to build character into your son and scheduling the time to lead and guide him into manhood. If you have a son who is 4-9 years old, the Bringing Up Boys of Character: 12 Core Virtues Decoded will be FREE on Fathers Day, June 16, 2013.


101 Summer Boredom Buster’s for Boys

101 Summer Boredom Busters for Boys

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. -Dorothy Parker

Are you dreading your boys asking to play video games, watch TV, or sit at the computer when they get bored this summer?

I am. They do it now and it’s not even summer yet!

Solution: Have a list at the ready of boredom busters that do not need you to shell out a ton of cash, feel the guilt of putting your boys on screen-time autopilot, and continue to build the curiosity bound up in their heart!

Prime the Curiosity Pump

Spend 15 minutes with your son(s) and talk to them about curiosity and get them excited and renewed in their interest of things outside of games! If you are unsure where to start, consider using the steps below to guide your discussion.

1. Ask your son(s) if he knows what curiosity means.
2. Give him a few different definitions of curiosity. Consider reading “Sam I Am” by Dr. Seuss.
3. Discuss how “distractions” keep our curiosity from being fulfilled through exploring the world.
4. Explain to your son(s) that you will be posting a lot of new and exciting things to help him become curious about the world this summer.

101 Summer Boredom Busters List
  1. Plant a small flower garden from seeds. Be sure to water everyday!
  2. Make two different paper airplane models. Have a flying contest to see which plane model/whose plane can fly the farthest, straightest, or most unusual. If you have an Apple iPad or iPhone, checkout this FREE App on how-to make paper airplane models.
  3. Make a paper mache’ solar system and hang the project from your bedroom ceiling when finished. Spend an evening under the stars with your son and try to find some of the planets.
  4. Make a costume and act out the parts. Ideas could include a pirate, soldier, construction worker, scientist, or doctor.
  5. Create an emergency plan in case of fire and do a real drill.
  6. Play with Play Dough (Outside). Older boys can have a play dough war!
  7. Sing Songs.
  8. Exercise. Checkout the Subway fitness program for exercise ideas.
  9. Watch educational shows (e.g., animal planet, discovery)
  10. Write a letter to a family member.
  11. Mystery topic (cut up 20 pieces of paper with a topic, put in a bowl, and then have your son research it and talk about it. Monitor his internet usage!)
  12. Draw Pictures and Practice Art Techniques. Google or youtube search for Bob Ross (former PBS guy who drew amazing mountains and other scenic pictures).
  13. Create a Diarama
  14. Search for bugs in the yard and collect into a jar.
  15. Visit the library and get books to read together.
  16. Visit a museum.
  17. Go for a walk or search and destroy mission outside.
  18. Conduct a science experiment. Lots of ideas at Steve Spangler Science.
  19. Build with legos or blocks.
  20. Cook a new recipe for a sweet treat.
  21. Go fishing.
  22. Go swimming.
  23. Play a board game.
  24. Play tent in the living room.
  25. Take a bubble bath and relax.
  26. Make a bird feeder. Free DIY plans at Ana White’s website.
  27. Have a picnic.
  28. Play at the park.
  29. Go on a nature walk in a wooded park or by a lake. Skip some stones or throw rocks and have a contest while you are there. 
  30. Have a water balloon fight.
  31. Build a volcano.
  32. Play hide and seek.
  33. Play basketball.
  34. Play baseball.
  35. Play soccer.
  36. Do a scavenger hunt.
  37. Shoot the BB gun.
  38. Call a family member and tell them you love them.
  39. Play cards.
  40. Go to the movies.
  41. Take pictures and act like a photographer. 
  42. Fly a kite.
  43. Go to a pizza restaurant, like Chuck E Cheese. Get some coupons first!
  44. Dress up in a costume and act out your favorite movie.
  45. Do some woodwork.
  46. Work with tools.
  47. Learn how to change a tire or do maintenance on the lawn mower
  48. Learn about parts of a car and especially the engine. Learn how to check the fluids.
  49. Play sword fight.
  50. Go on a mystery drive, where you the boys say which streets to turn on.
  51. Have a talent show.
  52. Build a time capsule and bury in the back yard.
  53. Have a video game competition.
  54. Have a Limbo contest
  55. Look at the stars at night and make wishes about the future.
  56. Wrestle.
  57. Draw with sidewalk chalk outside.
  58. Look for shapes in the clouds and tell stories.
  59. Use the grill to make smores.
  60. Play twister.
  61. Play charades.
  62. Watch the sunset together.
  63. Plan out a dinner menu that is crazy!
  64. Trace your hand onto paper and color
  65. Look at family pictures and talk about the memories.
  66. Make bubbles.
  67. Silly string fight.
  68. Jump rope contest.
  69. Have a lesson the guitar or piano.
  70. Think about how to redecorate your room.
  71. Learn about a specific animal.
  72. Play frisbee.
  73. Throw a party and invite some friends over.
  74. Go bowling.
  75. Play 20 questions.
  76. Have an Olympic festival where you compete in a variety of sports.
  77. Play iSpy.
  78. Have a hotwheel race.
  79. Play penny poker.
  80. Learn 100 signs in American Sign Language.
  81. Fix something that is broke.
  82. Sleep outside in a tent.
  83. Write down bad habits onto paper, build a fire, and throw it into the fire with a desire to change the bad habit.
  84. Go bicycle riding.
  85. Make holiday crafts in anticipation of the holidays.
  86. Go play laser tag.
  87. Play hot potato.
  88. Play name that tune.
  89. Play finish that story. Each person makes up a sentence and the next person has to keep the story going with another sentence. Do this for 10 rounds among all the players.
  90. Play with face paint and dress up like warriors.
  91. Play with hulk hands and have a boxing match.
  92. Make a pinata.
  93. Make a cardboard robot.
  94. Have a watergun fight.
  95. Watch a baseball game.
  96. Play Dominoes.
  97. Build a dirt castle.
  98. Go to the zoo.
  99. Do crazy Karoke.
  100. Build a cardboard castle.
  101. Organize a magic show.
Print the 101 Summer Boredom Busters List and place it on a wall that your son(s) pass by often in your home. Challenge your son(s) and yourself to do one third to half of them this summer!
Keep the list going. Add more summer ideas in the comments below or share links to help some of the ideas come alive!

A Fathers Confirmation comes later in life, Not while you are Man Building

A Fathers Confirmation comes later in life, Not while you are Man Building

As I stood in the lobby at the ice rink watching my son tie the skates of my grandson, my mind wandered back in time some 20 years earlier when I was doing the same exact thing for my son. I remember the early morning hockey games, many before the sunshine appeared for the day, a half-awake boy in the locker room trying to get dressed for the big game. Yes, this was my son, my pride and joy. Little did I know what I was doing at the time, I was just being a father.

As a father, you continue with this routine through his childhood, searching for moments to teach him things he needs to know in life. Did any of this make sense to him you think to yourself, will this be remembered?

Fast forward and now you have your answer, you see it happening before your eyes. My heart jumped for joy to hear my son tell his son,

“My dad did this for me when I was little like you.”

Hearing these words affirmed my efforts as a father, there is no higher compliment a father can get than a statement like that from his son. Well, maybe one, be sure to tell your son you love him so he can pass that love on to his son as well.

Fathers, what I am saying is this, make sure you devote time to your son, teach godly values to them, and teach them to respect other things. In short, “Man Building”, is that not our job as a father?  After your son’s journey through childhood, sit back and observe, especially once he has a son of his own.

It will be during this time that you will get confirmation, not while you are Man Building.

This scene made me proud of who I am and what I stand for in today’s hard world. Did I teach and raise my son correctly?

This scene confirms that fact in the creation of a legacy of ice hockey, passed on for a third generation of Walker boys. I am not sure I will still be around to see the fourth generation, but in my heart, this special scene lives on.

Fathers, it is moments like this, that you should live for, to see your efforts in raising a son, and the transformation to them for raising a son of their own.

Darrell Walker
Proud Father 2013


Is your Son being Dis-Respectful? Build Respect Today

(Photo credit to Brenda Yoder of Life Beyond the Picket Fence)

Is your Son being Dis-Respectful? Build Respect Today

One of the loudest ways to reach your son is through respect. The old adage “treat others the way you want to be treated” applies here.

Luke 6:31 Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

As a mother of 5 boys, I often find myself correcting my sons when they are being dis-respectful or too wild. (Mothers of boys should be able to relate to the wild part!) After the 5th time of correction in as many minutes, I catch myself becoming disrespectful back to them. Phrases such as “ How many times do I have to tell you?” or “At this age I expect better than this!” become the norm. The reply I get back is either a head hung down in defeat or compliance mixed with semi-controlled anger. Neither of which fixes the heart issue with my son. He feels embarrassed and disrespected and I am left feeling frustrated and guilty.

The Solution

In speaking to a wise friend about this issue she offered me some great advice.

Allow your child to come up with a code word for you to use when they are being disrespectful.

Coming to your child and letting him be a part of deciding the code word shows him that his opinion matters and that he is worthy of respect.

The code word can be simple such as “calm down” or can be a true code word/phrase such as “ it looks like rain today.” Other examples could include:

  • Respect please
  • Is something wrong?
  • The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain
  • Purple Tuesday
  • Breaking out in an uninhibited rendition of Aretha Franklin’s


However, let your child be creative and come up with something that will not embarrass him. Rather, this code word should cue him toward the fact that he needs to change the behavior immediately.

One of our children chose to use the latin word for “be calm”. Using a different language can mask what you are trying to say to outsiders, while still getting the point across to your child.

Tell your son that you will use this word that he has chosen instead of yelling at him or embarrassing him.

The Caveat

He needs to respond in an equally respectful way. When you use your code word he should respond with “yes ma’am” or “thanks for the reminder” or another respectful response.

His responding lets you know that he has heard you and acknowledges the situation and helps build a respectful relationship between you and your son.

Have you tried using a “code word” to address disrespectful behavior in your home? How did your son react?

Spring into the Yard: Teach your son to service a lawn mower!

Spring into the Yard: Teach your son to service a lawn mower!

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.  – Former President John F. Kennedy

If your son is old enough, this activity is a quadruple win!

Teach your son to service your lawn mower this spring and enjoy the benefits.

  • Spend time with your son.
  • Do something manly that involves dirt, grime, oil, sweat, & tools. 
  • Your son gains valuable skills he will need one day as a man.
  • At some point, he can service the mower without you, reducing your work

Lets get started.

Removing & Sharpening the Blade

If you want that mower to cut well, then at least every year the blade should be sharpened. Take time with your son and explain to him that everything in life requires maintenance if you expect to use it. The harder you work things, the more maintenance they require. He must learn that as the future provider for his family, or even just taking care of himself or the community, it is critical that he take the initiative in maintaining equipment.

If you have a bench grinder, you can sharpen the blade on your own. If you do not, a local lawn mower repair shop will generally do it for less than $10. The key is that you must remove the blade first and take it to them. Your son needs to understand how to remove the blade and replace it at a minimum.

Checkout the video below on removing a blade.

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Remember to follow all safety instructions. A trick my Uncle taught me as a boy is to remove the spark plug wire. This will help ensure that the engine will not start. Also, don’t forget that if you turn a mower on its side to remove the blade, the engine will not start as it will flood out.


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Check and/or Change the Oil

At least once a year the oil should be changed. By teaching your son how to do this on a small lawn mower, he will be prepared for when you teach him how to do it on a vehicle.

Plan ahead and buy your oil and filter to have the supplies ready. This may be a separate manbuilding time with your son compared to when you work on the blade.

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Clean the Mower Deck

This task may need to happen more often in certain climates that are wetter or where you have very thick grass to cut. The underside of the mower “cakes” and continues to build, reducing the performance of your cut.

Watch this video to see how to clean the mower deck.

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So what did we miss? Depending on your mower or climate, there could be many more tips to share. The important part is to teach your son and spend time with him. Boys need to have these skills passed down from their parents. Share your tips with us!

Improving the Relationship with Your Son: Part 5. The Power of Bragging on Your Son

(Photo credit to Kifo via Flickr Creative Commons)

Improving the Relationship with your Son: Part 5. The Power of Bragging on Your Son

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing and thats why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Your son needs you to compliment him in front of people. Even brag about him in front of them. 

Is it your job to “puff him up”, “make him happy”, or “people please him”?

Absolutely not. 

When you brag on your son, he is

  • Affirmed through words as a man in training.
  • Encouraged by the compliment paid.
  • Recognized publicly for doing something of value.
  • Accepted by you.
  • Strengthened in his respect of you.

Before you pull away, lets see how you feel in the following scenario.

A Day at Work

The morning was hectic with a rush of work. Already behind on many tasks, the day seems relentless. Your lunch break is short today, only 15 minutes in length. You are sitting with a co-worker and enjoying being away from your work. A few minutes later, the boss walks in. Frustrated by the fact that she represents the workload you feel burdened with today, she is the last person you want to see.

“I know we are behind on the project and you have been busy today,” she says as you feel frustration and excusing welling up in your heart.

Unexpectedly, she places her hand appropriately on your shoulder and begins to speak.

“Without you this place would not be what it is today. I am very impressed by how much effort you have placed into getting the project completed while prioritizing the rest of your work. You have been amazing this week and I appreciate your leadership”, she says removing her hand from your shoulder with a smile.

Almost sounds too good to be true, right? In most workplaces, it is too good to be true. Managers rarely excel on recognizing their employees in a public setting. Perhaps many managers didn’t get this themselves as children?

You can change this. 

How to Brag on Your Son – Who

The art of bragging on your son in front of others is an affirmation of who he is and what he means to you. Brag on him in front of:

  • Adults who are of good moral character. – Frequent
  • Teachers or Coaches. – Often
  • Your adult friends. – Often
  • His friends. – Sometimes

How to Brag on Your Son – Where

Be mindful of the conditions. When there is an informal setting of people such as the following you have an opportunity waiting in the wings.

  1. Sitting at the dinner table with guests visiting your home.
  2. Eating a meal together with others at a restaurant.
  3. At the park with friends.
  4. Before or after a sporting event in front of his coach.

How to Brag on Your Son – How

Consider using the following phrases. The real truth is that this will just come naturally when the time permits. The important learning lesson is to be mindful that you do it.

  1. Last week, Jacob did a great job on his science studies and has shown some improvement. He is really putting effort into his work.
  2. I can’t believe the way Jordan acted when he missed that ball. Instead of getting embarrassed or angry, he acted with great character and I’m proud of him.
  3. Earlier today, Johnathan told me that he is going to work hard on making his bed consistently. I really appreciate that he takes what I have asked him seriously.
  4. Next week, Jonah will be tested for moving up a belt in Karate. He has been asking me to help him drill and prepare. Jonah is really dedicated and I am proud of him for his planning and perseverance.
  5. Jared is really great at reading. Just yesterday he read a book with me that was 30 pages long in under an hour. He really does well.

The above examples are only a few of the thousands of possible compliments that could be given to your son.  For more ideas, review the Power of Positive Words. The concept presenting in bragging on your son in front of others is applying compliments in front of others in a special way.

How do you brag on your son? Any scenarios that can help the community of parents?

Add to your Sons toolchest of knowledge – Teach Him to Use a Hammer!

Add to your Sons tool chest of knowledge – Teach Him to Use a Hammer!

Every boy should know how to use a hammer. This tool is great for construction and destruction!

Does your son like to:

  • Tear things down?
  • Build things up?
  • Be wild and exaggerate activities?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then its time to get out the hammer and have fun!

Get Started – Teach Him Safety & Handling

Teach him how to be safe with the hammer through proper handling and identification of the parts of the hammer. Without this step, he will either hurt himself or you in less than 10 seconds!

Explain to your son that he is to listen very closely to your instructions and not to be too quick. His natural tendency will be to rush straight to hammering and you need to spend about 3-5 minutes explaining the basics to include.

  • The Parts of the Hammer
  • How to Grip the Hammer
  • Where to place your finger on nails when using the Hammer

The Art of Manliness website has an excellent article, Toolmanship Basics: How to Handle a Hammer,  with numerous images of different hammer types and safety skills to consider.  I highly encourage you to check out this article and leave feedback for the Art of Manliness team. You could also show your son the different hammer types and diagram illustration before you start so he can see it visually. Boys not only like to touch stuff, but they are very often visual learners.

Tips for You

  1. Be Patient. Depending on his age, he has the potential to interrupt you a hundred times. This is frustrating.  Fight the urge to be cranky.
  2. Repeat, then Repeat. He will want to be wild at first. Explain until you are certain he understands.
  3. Wear Safety Glasses. Do I always wear safety glasses when using a hammer? No, I do not. The key is you are dressing the part in this play. That is, he feels like it is more serious when he is wearing the safety glasses and will probably think this activity is more serious than what you and I really know that it is!

Get Some Wood and Get After It!

Do you have some scrap wood, two hammers, and a box of nails? That is enough! This activity should be open-ended and fun for both of you. After you explain to him how to safely use the hammer, let him start hammering nails into the wood or trying to join pieces of wood together.

The ManBuilders crew was given scrap wood, tools, nails, and told to be creative. Don’t try to dominate your son unless he is going to hurt himself. Give him the freedom to design and build whatever he wants. Let this be fun!

If you want to get serious and build some cool things, consider the DIY (Do It Yourself) website for kids. The Woodworker patch has 12 challenges and several video resources to include how to build a box, make a doghouse, carve some wood, and many more! This is a great free website that your son can use today and earn patches.

You can also get the free DIY App for iOS devices to easily keep track of activities and enroll your son.

Schedule It

If he likes to use tools or you are just trying to teach the basics,  then schedule it! Put this on your calendar for one Saturday this month or some random night. Make sure you choose a time that you can commit to. Once he learns how to use a hammer and you stop spending your time teaching him/having fun, use this opportunity to listen to what is going on in his life. This is a chance to Earn the Right to Be Heard.

Video Resources

There are a tremendous amount of free resources available for using tools. Here is a good starter video that is short and to the point.

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10 Jobs to Develop a Positive Work Ethic in Your Son: Teach him to Earn it!

10 Jobs to Develop a Positive Work Ethic in Your Son: Teach him to Earn it!

“Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. ” – Sam Ewig

Do you ever wonder if your son(s) will adopt a good work ethic when he becomes a man?

You should.

Why would you want to teach your son the value of hard work?

  1. Work entitles a man to a reward. That is, the fruit of his labor provides a form of payment, recognition, or reward.
  2. Work creates satisfaction in knowing that you have completed a task or series of tasks.
  3. Work benefits other people.
  4. Work builds character within your son(s). He must learn that “hand-outs” are the exception, not the rule.
  5. A variety of work develops a compass within your son that does not put certain work “below him”.

Should I reward him?

Absolutely. You get a reward by doing work, right?

You know your son(s) better than anyone else and should be able to pick an appropriate reward. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • A small amount of cash ($1 for small jobs, $5 for bigger jobs, $10-15 for an all day labor intensive throw-down of a job). Use the structure that works best in your home. The amounts above are my opinion and what we do in our home in reference to what we pay for weekly chores.
  • A trip to his favorite restaurant for dinner.
  • A trip just for yogurt/ice cream.
  • A trip to one of his favorite activities (baseball game, movie theatre, trip to the park) or choose from any of these ideas.

How do you teach this?

Get your hands dirty and sweat.

At the writing of this article, it is the springtime in North America. There are a variety of spring jobs that your son can take on temporarily. The key is to schedule the time with your son by getting it on the calendar.

Recently, our sons had the opportunity to earn money at a coworkers home. They spent the afternoon picking up branches, raking leaves, and cleaning up the land. They each were paid for their work with a small amount of cash by my coworker and then I treated them to pizza. They worked really hard and 100% earned it! The pizza never tasted so good.

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Note: You will need to be prepared to coach your son until he completes the job. He will want to quit when the work continues for a long duration or becomes physically difficult. It is important to positively coach him to complete the work. Lead by example and do the work with him. Let him truly see you work just as hard. Sideline coaches are not appreciated when teaching work ethic. The work could appear to be punishment in his eyes. Get down in the trenches together!


Jobs List

Some are warm weather and others could apply at any time of year. Remember that boys enjoy spraying water at things!

  1. Cleaning the garage.
  2. Fixing things you have been putting off.
  3. Changing air filters in your home.
  4. Spraying the fins on the air conditioning unit with water to remove the dirt and debris.
  5. Washing the exterior windows and/or walls of the home.
  6. Removing debris on your property such as branches, leaves, trash, toys, etc.
  7. Mowing, weed eating, edging the lawn, etc.
  8. Washing your vehicles.
  9. Cleaning the inside of your vehicles. (Caution, ensure the doors stay open when the weather is hot and do not leave him alone. Being trapped in a hot vehicles for only a few minutes can fatally injure a child.)
  10. Working a garden.

In addition to a reward, make sure you provide:

  • Verbal recognition through positive words by telling him that he did a good job, stayed with it, or whatever else was commendable.
  • A true pat on the back. Really, give him one and encourage him through positive touch.
  • A debrief explaining why it was good for him to work today and how he contributed to the family and makes you proud.

So how does hard work look in your home? Any good tips to share with the community? What are age appropriate jobs that you can give to your son to help teach him a positive work ethic?