Instilling Vision in Our Sons

Instilling Vision in Our Sons

He had that look in his eye.

You know the look.

That way of silently expressing that this young man has got things to do and places to go.

You could tell he felt a calling on his life – a sense of purpose and a hope for the future.

Yes, that young man had a vision.

There was a time when I thought a boy either had it . . . or simply didn’t. But I don’t believe that anymore.

I believe parents can encourage vision in their sons.

That it’s not merely a matter of chance, but an internal calling that can be brought out and molded into something solid and real.

And I believe it’s never too late to appeal to that small flicker of fire deep inside his soul.

How Do You Instill Vision in Your Son?

Encourage his unique strengths and gifting. Sometimes a son’s strengths can seem almost odd, even out-of-place when he is young. You worry about him and wonder. But don’t. Maybe he’s bright, overly-social, not-social-enough, a tinkerer, funny, or serious. Whatever he is – God made him that way and He has a plan for that boy of yours.

Don’t impose your dreams on him. This is probably the biggest mistake parents make. They want their sons to fulfill their own dreams. But, please, don’t do this to him. Let him live out his own God-given desires and goals for his life. Even if it looks a bit differently than the picture you would have painted for him.

Be bold and offer some direction. This might seem to contradict what’s above, but it doesn’t. I’ve heard more than one guy confide that he could use a little help – maybe even a little push – to get going in a direction. Often a young man feels the pressure of having to pursue something, but has no idea what that “something” is. So offer guidance as to his best options and then together set out specific steps toward the goal.

Don’t play down his passions. When our oldest son was quite young, he confided that he felt a sense of urgency to “save America”. So, yes, it was hard to keep a straight face when a little boy is making such big claims. But as the years went on, his vision matured and inspired him to work hard, to study hard, and reach beyond what he might otherwise have achieved.

Surround him with strong role-models. Our son shared that – in addition to his father – the example of other godly, leaders had a direct impact on him. He’s read many biographies, watched a few inspiring films, and took note of the leaders in the Bible, like King David and his Mighty Men (II Sam.). As his parents, we also pointed out the great – if quieter – qualities of the men in our local church body.

Stand behind him. Let him know you believe in him. That you are confident in what God is doing in his life and what He has for his future. Swamp his insecurities with your unwavering faith in his abilities and all the possibilities. He needs to know you are behind him all the way.

Patrick Henry Dorm Pic

{Young men with a vision. Our son – at far right – with some of his friends at college.}

I don’t need to tell you that in this present age we could use a few good men with a strong vision for the future (and good women, Inspiring Dreams in Our Daughters). So let’s do everything we can to encourage these young men to be seeking all that God has for their lives.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).

*What are some of the other things you’ve done to instill vision in your sons? Or if you have inspiring stories or examples to share? I’d love to hear them!

In His grace,

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Owner at Club 31 Women

Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matthew Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She’s also rather fond of dark chocolate, French press coffee, and deep friendships (though not necessarily in that order). She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. They are also the authors of several children’s books, including a winner of the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal for Children’s Literature.



The Happily-Ever-After wife of Matthew. Mom to 8 children. Sharing my passion for husband, home, and family at Club31Women. 100 Ways to Love Your Husband.

“Marriage is a gift of love you give to your spouse everyday, with a never-ending promise that you’ll walk side-by-side.” -Darlene Schacht – 6 months ago

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  • Christy Fitzwater

    Since Caleb is starting his junior year, we have been having conversations about what he’ll be when he grows up. This post is really helpful!!

  • Michelle Wilson

    Thank you for your post Lisa and this very important reminder. We live in a culture that is taking away the pride out of what it means to be a man. Our boys are growing up confused and all society is suffering as a consequence. Since my boy was about 3 or 4-he is now 9- I have said to him phrases like: “God has great plans for you” or “I can’t wait to see the plans God has for you, He will use you in big ways”. I am only paraphrasing what God has already promised us in his word and helping it sink deep Into his heart. I also pray over him constantly for the great man of God he will become one day. I do similar things with both of my girls too, but as you said, that is a different post.

  • Lisa

    Those are powerful words to say to your son, Michelle! What a wonderful way to speak into his life, even at that young age. And, yes, PRAYING over him as he grows into the young man God has called him to be. Blessings on that journey!

  • Lynn

    We adopted our son at age 4 from China, and next month he will be 11!. He has endured numerous surgeries, and has yet another tomorrow for his CL/CP. We homeschool because of his medical needs and learning difficulties (some CAPD issues). He LOVES x-rays, and finds the human body amazing. We have studied the skeleton as a whole, and this year we are doing the human body. He wants to be that “x-ray guy” when he grows up. I often wonder if he will be able to achieve that. These particular words encouraged me…

    Encourage his unique strengths and gifting. Sometimes a son’s strengths can seem almost odd, even out-of-place when he is young. You worry about him and wonder. But don’t. Maybe he’s bright, overly-social, not-social-enough, a tinkerer, funny, or serious. Whatever he is – God made him that way and He has a plan for that boy of yours.

    Thank you for the reminder that it is GOD who equips my son… NOT me. That it is HIS plan for him that is important, NOT ours! :)

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  • Mara Williams

    dear Lisa, loved your post. I am a Miss in Spain and direct a Christian blog for women . I would like to translate this simple but so meaningful article. Please let me know if this would be possible. Thank you either way. Mara

  • Kathy Prowse

    Many times during our family prayers at night, I pray that God uses our son (currently 8) in great ways! Before he even got Saved (at 6), he said he wanted to be a race car driver, a fireman, a policeman and a preacher. After a brief thought, I responded…”you know, you could do ALL of them!” Just this morning he announced that “instead of a preacher” he wanted to be a missionary. I asked if he feels that God has called him to the mission field. He wasn’t sure, so I told him to pray on it and God will tell him! Since we had him dedicated at 6 months, I have prayed and felt a peace about God calling him!

  • Jennifer

    I AM SO PROUD OF MY SON THIS EVENING!!!! Yesterday after church, Kendall (8 years old) came to me and said “I want to be baptized”. I was taken back and not really sure if he was ready or understood what that entailed. So I looked up some information and tonight I shared it with him. I thought when I called for him he would be bored and want to go play as usual, because playing and the XBOX 360 is usually the most important thing to him. Well, boy was I wrong! For 2 hours now we have been reviewing HOW TO RECEIVE CHRIST, HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN, DEDICATION, BAPTISM, and SALVATION. He is so eager to learn and ask questions. We looked up 16 bible verses and reviewed them from their new bible I got them. He prayed this prayer… Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I want Jesus to come into my life and be my Savior. I want to follow Him and obey Him. I want Him to be the Lord of my life. Amen.” He also had to share it with his sisters!! Kaylyn also prayed this prayer! One of the last verses we looked at was Matthew 28:19. He had learned this at our church and him and Kaylyn was able to do actions to this verse, which was really neat!! I am just so proud my son is so interested in this., that it took precedent over EVERYTHING this evening. It means so much to him and to me! We both learned a lot tonight!! We are starting lessons every evening in our family bible and his excitement and eagerness to learn is such a testament to God’s Grace!! If anyone wants to see what we reviewed tonight, message me and I will share with you, all that we went through tonight!! Feeling blessed and so proud!!!

    My son wants to be the best at everything and I encourage him but also explain that everyone has been given gifts from God! He wants to be in the FBI, and a policeman, etc. I will use the comments you all have shared in saying God has great plans for you!!!

    I enjoyed this article very much and wanted to share my sons spiritual birthday with you!! I am such a proud Momma and will continue to help my son with his calling from God!!

  • Billy Butler

    Vision is created by desire. You see what your heart desires. It reminds me of when I was younger and there were these books with pictures hidden in a mess of colors. You had to stare for a long time trying to bring the picture out as your eyes focus on it. At first glance it looks as if nothing is there but in the end we just have to focus. So that is what I teach my son is to Focus. When things go wrong and you make mistakes, because it will happen, just focus. When the world is against you and it may even seem as your parents are against you, just focus. When it seems there is no way out of the situation and your best laid plans seem like a failure, Focus.
    As I preach to young men across the country in churches, prisons and youth clubs it is not that they have no vision, it is that they need to have focus. The absence of fathers in their life create a blurred perception of reality but when Jesus gives them eyes to see, they can focus. Many men have to God to jail to find freedom so they can focus and their vision become a reality!

  • Lisa

    We’re rejoicing with you, Jennifer!

  • Cyndi Smith

    I love that college picture!! Love love love! So this is what a group of young Christian men look like. Ready to live for God and lead. It is so important for these kinds of men to be in the world. They are far more valuable than gold. So precious & valuable. It is so exciting to imagine how God will use them! We all know this world is suffering because there’s not many Christian men being used by God. To all the Christian men out there who have a heart for Jesus thank you!!!! We need you!!!!

  • Lisa

    Sure thing, Mara! That would be wonderful! Thanks for asking. Blessings on your ministry there!

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