Investing in boys is preventative maintenance. Sometimes the answer is right in front of our face, but we fail to see it or to take the proper measures to capitalize on it.
I knew a man who didn’t check the oil level in his used car. This resulted in the motor failing simply because he didn’t add oil when it was needed. Not replacing the motor oil when it was needed was very costly compared to regularly adding oil to his motor. The same is true for boys.
Why Investing in Boys is a Great Investment
We are all aware that many of the horrific acts being committed are by young men who are deeply troubled. I hear and read of any number of ways that are suggested to curb these violent acts, but most of them are dealing with symptoms rather than the root causes. More importantly, Christian mentoring programs could have made a difference. Note below the frightening correlation between fatherlessness and crime.
The correlation between crime with father absence is enormous: According to the US Department of Justice report, “What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” Children from fatherless homes account for:
- 63 percent of youth suicides.
- 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youths
- 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
- 71 percent of all high school dropouts
- 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
- 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers
- 75 percent of rapists are motivated by displaced anger
I have many close friends in Men’s Ministries who focus on working with adult men. What they do is critical and needed. Men continue to need other men to speak into their lives as adults. Many of the men they work with are rebuilding shipwrecked lives.
People fail to realize the enormous value of having men invest and speak into a boy’s life as he traverses the rough road between boyhood and manhood.
I firmly believe there would be fewer troubled young adult men if more Christian men stepped up and committed to investing in the next generation. Adding oil when needed will keep the motor from failing. Engaged men, building relationships with boys, and pointing them to their Heavenly Father will be “preventative maintenance” to support many boys from becoming troubled young men. Invested men could literally be the difference-maker in that boy’s life to keep him from becoming a troubled young adult man who lashes out by taking the lives of others.
In my work at the National Coalition of Ministries to Men, I often receive testimonials from adult men who are firmly convinced that their Brigade leaders were instrumental in changing the trajectory of their lives. Perhaps it is time for you to consider how you can make a difference in a boy’s life through Christian mentoring programs.
“To be in a relationship with a boy in the midst of life’s ups and downs is vastly different from teaching him about life.”
—Stephen James and David Thomas, Wild Things: The art of Nurturing Boys