The early years are incredibly formative for boys and provides many excellent opportunities for them to learn new skills and prepare for the challenges that await them.
Not only do taking on new and challenging activities benefit the boy who is learning and growing, they can also help strengthen the cohesion of the family and provide lifelong hobbies both father and son can enjoy for many years to come.
Today, we’re going to discuss just three of many, MANY alternatives to your kids sitting in front of the Xbox every afternoon.
Let me preface this section that, as an Eagle Scout, I can no longer support the Boy Scouts as they become increasingly subservient to the PC crowd while sacrificing all the morals and values that made the great to begin with (#MakeScoutingGreatAgain).
That being said, there are quite a few alternatives to the Boy Scouts to enroll your son in. All it takes is a simple Google search.
Ideally, you should look for a program that not only shares your values, but also focuses on teaching your son valuable outdoor skills, community awareness/involvement, and emergency preparedness.
If you cannot find a program near you, consider starting your own troop. Not only will you be able to spend valuable time with your son as he grows into a man, but you will also be able to run the group as you see fit and help other boys grow into strong, capable men as well.
Just as crucial as scouting is getting your son enrolled in a quality martial arts school, with an emphasis on quality. What type of martial art isn’t as important as finding an instructor who won’t coddle his students or allow them to advance if their performance is subpar (ie-McDojo).
Training in martial arts provides many valuable benefits to a young man including exercise, confidence, discipline, focus, and the ability to defend himself against bullies at school.
A good school will challenge your son to overcome challenges he previously might not have thought possible. One such example is the act of breaking boards. While more for show, breaking boards does provide a valuable lesson to students, by forcing them to break through something that they think is harder than themselves. If you don’t believe me, watch the look on any new student’s face when they break their first board. It’s a mix of shock, relief, and pride.
This category takes a place, in my opinion, below the other two categories, but is still important. Sports has many of the same benefits that martial arts has, minus the self-defense aspect.
What sports lacks in self-defense, it makes up for in teaching your son to work as a team. Now it’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of professional sports, but having your son participate in a sport, be it football, soccer, baseball, etc., will help teach your son to cooperate with others to achieve a common goal, a crucial skill for when he enters the workforce.
Sports also helps your son channel his competitive spirit while also teaching him how to handle losses with grace.
Yes, your son can also compete in martial arts tournaments, something else I highly recommend, but that is a one on one competition so he won’t get the same benefits as he would competing with a team. That being said, competing in situations where he must rely on himself and can’t allow the team to pick up where he drops off provides powerful life lessons on its own.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how you raise your son, but trying to teach your son all these lessons on your own can be tough at times, especially when he hits his rebellious years.
Oftentimes it helps to have an outside source providing a different point of view that steers him towards the same results you’re striving for.
Do your due diligence and make sure whatever programs you enroll your son in promotes the same values that you have while pushing your son to be the best he can be.
So what activities did I miss? Leave them in the comments below!