I clearly remember the day our fourth son was born. We had one girl, and as a six year old, she’d been praying passionately for a sister. God was planning to give her her heart’s desire but not yet, because along came yet another brother.
That night at the hospital, after the wonder of a safe delivery and its joyful aftermath had calmed, Mary asked Nate, “How do you feel about having another son?”
Nate’s answer was a good one: “You can never have too many boys.”
Back in biblical times, having boys was critical to carrying on the family name and profession. The more sons, the better. Even in the early days of our nation, as pioneers moved west and took advantage of the government’s free 60 acres and a mule, fathers hoped for boys who could help on the farm.
When our 4th boy came along, our good friend Florie gave Nate a poem with a valuable message about little boys and their fathers. I still have it hanging above a photo of Dad, Nate and our four sons:
A careful man I ought to be.
Four young fellows follow me.
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear they’ll go the selfsame way.
Not once can I escape their eyes.
Whate’er they see me do, they try.
Like me, they say they’re going to be,
Those four young chaps that follow me.
I must remember as I go,
Through summer sun and winter snow,
I’m molding for the years to be
Those four young chaps God gave to me.
God’s plan is that boys grow into men who can be humble, godly leaders, especially in marriages and families. Warren Wiersbe used to say he didn’t understand how husbands could forfeit the chance to spiritually lead their children, telling us he counted it a golden opportunity and a considerable privilege to do so in his own home.
Raising boys well is a big job. James Dobson wrote a thick book about it, and experts agree it calls for different tactics than raising girls. The most difficult part of fathering comes in being a strong example for sons to emulate, and that includes loving their mother. The list of all a man should do is long and difficult, but God doesn’t leave them without his encouragement and assistance.
He, too, is a father to a son, and they’re a unified pair like no other. Jesus told us, “I do what my Father tells me to do and say what he tells me to say.” (John 14:10, John 12:50) When a father is 100% perfect, this tact works out well for the son. Earthly fathers can’t claim perfection, however, but they can study the example of divine fatherhood and emulate that close, loving bond.
I’m thankful daily for our four boys. They’ve demonstrated strength during my days of weakness and have, I’m sure, made their own father proud.
Nate was right. You can never have too many boys.
“Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!” (Psalm 127:5a)