Eternity in Our Hearts

Bringing what endures into everyday life

Dear parents of boys


Dear parents of boys,

My husband and I are raising our only child, a teenage daughter. So I don’t know what it’s like to have a young man in my home, but I deeply appreciate the responsibility that you, parents of boys, have. 

Obviously parents of girls have significant responsibilities too, and at home, we’re trying to keep lines of communication open, even when – especially when – the conversations get a little uncomfortable. We know that it’s essential to give our daughter a safe place to talk about guys, sex, and purity.  At the same time, current events remind me of the mixed and confusing messages about masculinity, so we have to talk about that too. I don’t buy the cultural assumption that men are just this way. I don’t want my daughter to grow up believing that either. And so, parents of boys, I highly value your influence in your son’s life.

Like most girls her age, my daughter dreams of the future – of finding THE one who will love her for her soul and her mind and who will treat her with tenderness and honor. I’m grateful that she can still believe such a man might be in God’s plans for her. I credit her father for that, because he is the primary man who models what a gentleman looks like, who recognizes her inner beauty, and who encourages her to be the gifted, strong, intelligent, creative, honorable woman that God has created her to be.

Of course, my husband and I don’t know if God’s plans for our daughter’s life include marriage, but we naturally wish for her to step into her school, her church, her job, her everyday-coming-and-going and be valued for who she is on the inside.

My husband and I pray for men – classmates, mentors, co-workers, neighbors, friends, potential suitors – to enter our daughter’s life and model what gentlemen look like, who recognize her inner beauty, and who encourage her to be the gifted, strong, intelligent, creative, honorable woman that God has created her to be.

Your son could be one of those men.

So, despite all the societal, highly-sexualized mess that surrounds us and our children, I believe in the best for you as parents and for your son. I know that there are dads and moms who are raising boys to be difference-makers in their generation. We believe that the enemy distorts what the Father created for good, so we intentionally seek out His original design and give thanks for a community of parents who do the same.

To you, I express gratitude –

        For teaching your son that “boys will be boys” is a lie that undermines their ability to rise above the objectification and harassment of women.

        For intentionally connecting with him and knowing his influences, his friends, his concerns, and his dreams.

        For expecting him to treat his mother with the utmost respect.

        For teaching your son that he is not defined by his appearance, athletic prowess, grades, or ability to win the attention of girls.

        For teaching him that girls are not defined by externals either.

        For communicating that “locker room banter” isn’t a normal indicator of masculinity.

        For monitoring his screen time.

        For teaching your son that he is capable of respecting other people’s bodies and personal space and he is capable of controlling his emotions and passions.

        For communicating that sexting isn’t just harmless goofing around.

        For teaching him to avoid aggressive girls because he deserves better than their manipulative ways.

        For modeling the traits of God’s design for masculinity, including courage, humility, personal responsibility, servanthood, provision, and protection.

        For being a safe place when your son has questions about something he has heard about sex from peers or the media that runs contrary to God’s standards.

        For teaching him to be FOR the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical purity of every girl he encounters.

        For emulating a heart after God and for living out sermons at your kitchen tables, in your living rooms, and on the ballfields. For putting flesh and bone on the concepts of integrity, faithfulness, repentance, forgiveness, and submission to God.

        For affirming your son and imparting words of blessing to him, including appropriate physical affection, so that he doesn’t seek intimacy in false or harmful ways.

        For imparting vision for his future so that he can expect the best of himself in every situation.


I know that your son, as a person designed after God’s image, is created to be gifted, strong, intelligent, creative, and honorable. With you, I grieve the fact that there are such tainted ideas about what it means to be a real man. But parents, we can still pursue God’s principles and pray His promises for the generations that follow us. God’s honor and His purposes far exceed any political platform or candidate or societal trend. We can stand against the objectification and harassment of women AND men. Together, we can strive FOR kindness, considerateness, graciousness, and charity toward our fellow image bearers. I want you to know that my husband and I are trying to teach these lessons to our daughter too, so that she and your son can treat one another, in whatever setting they find themselves, with dignity and respect.

We know that we can’t own our children’s successes or failings, and there will likely be mistakes along the way, but God’s grace is sufficient and His wisdom is promised when we ask. God’s Word assures us that the Holy Spirit equips those who follow Jesus with everything they need for life and purity.  Let’s reject the cultural cynicism and embrace this very high calling with confidence, not in our parenting skills or in our children, but in God who has created our sons and daughters with purpose and with joy. In them, He is able to do more than we could ask or imagine.

In an uncertain world, He is unchanging.



More encouragement, such good, truth-filled words here:

Kristen Welch, Raising Sons in a World that Disrespects Women.

Russell Moore, Rescuing Men from Fake Love and Fake War


Linking today with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart where writers share words of encouragement.



Author: Renee Ratcliffe


10 thoughts on “Dear parents of boys

  1. OH MY WORD!! This is best ever!! Thanks so much…I may need to share it with…um…everyone!

    *Leah Kilcoin* Associate Director of Children’s Ministry/ Preteen Director Carmel Baptist Church 1145 Pineville – Matthews Rd. Matthews, NC 28105 | 704.847.8575 x3002 (Main) | 704.815.1961 (Direct) |

    On Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 12:33 PM, Eternity in Our Hearts wrote:

    > Renee Ratcliffe posted: “Dear parents of boys, Well, first of all, I’m not > one of you. My husband and I are raising our only child, a teenage > daughter. So I don’t know what it’s like to have a young man in my home, > but I deeply appreciate the responsibility that you, parents ” >

  2. I’m a mom of a teenage boy and just like any other mom, I wholeheartedly agree that this parenting gig is no joke. We live in a society that has very blurred lines and a world that sells our boys – our children – a lot of lies. Our heart is indeed to raise our son to be a man of character and integrity, who respects His identity in Christ and chooses to live that inside and outside of our home – when we’re watching and when we’re not. We pray for that woman whom God would choose to walk alongside Him and your list is right in line with what we’d want for her and of her. I firmly believe that Satan is trying to bait our kids and like you for your daughter, my heart is to fight for my son every single day. Great words and encouragement, Renee!

    • Thank you, Tiffany. You’ve encouraged me today! Keep fighting – I know that God’s promises for your son are sure! Greater is He who is in (our children) than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

  3. As always straight from your heart! And straight to the heart of every parent out there. Good words, indeed! Caroline will do well!

  4. You’re welcome and amen! As parents of boys, my husband and I know it is our job to teach them to treat all of God’s children with respect and dignity. We try our hardest to live by example of what a loving marriage can be so that when they are off on their own, they will know how to treat the women that come into their lives.
    Keep up the good work mama!

  5. Hi Renee! I’m a fellow Hope*Writer, and I also work for, a Christian parenting site. I’m also a mom of girls, and I so appreciate this post! And I’d love to share it with our readers at For Every Mom. If you’ll give us permission, we’d like to republish the post on our site, giving you full credit as author, linking back to the original post, and including your bio and head shot.

    What do you think? Let me know if you have any questions and if you’ll allow us to share your post. Thank you for considering my request!


Leave a Reply to Renee Ratcliffe Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s