Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Per my previous post on Berry Bonding, I’m also acutely aware of the impending boyhood to manhood transition that is fast coming upon me. TJ is 10 1/2 and enters middle school next year. I have the infamous birds-and-the-bees father/son sexuality talk to consider. I feel fairly prepared for that talk. What I’m not so sure I’m prepared for is any kind of rite of passage or milestone marker to help my young boys clearly step up and into young manhood as they enter puberty and then beyond. I’m not sure what kind of men weekends I should be planning with them. What kind of conversations I want to have for sure or even a fine tuned list of 4 or 5 critical character traits I think they each must embrace if God is going to stick for them or they are actually going to become real men. I know they’ll be anatomically men one day. However, I’m not at all sure the culture I’m raising my boys in can help me or them be much more than that though.

I have declared war on this as a youth pastor and have done a lot in my recent years to try and get teenage boys to step up and be young God-fearing men. I do not want to be a youth pastor with a legacy of raising up teens who have no spiritual backbone. I want them to be men of integrity, protectors, providers, lovers of God, responsible, respectful, filled with healthy habits, self aware, and passionate, respectful, faithful lovers of the women they may marry…. all of that and some more. It’s a monumental task I often feel alone in against the culture and many absentee fathers.

But I have not, as of yet, had to ponder much how this will affect my own boys who are still very entrenched in legos and nerf guns. One day soon they’ll discover girls, want to conquer the world, and need to take up the risk factor in their life. I don’t want them to feel like they can’t journey with God, or with their Dad, in that process. I really really really want to navigate it intentionally with them.

So, the next 3 months are a fatherhood/boyhood-to-manhood intense reading time for me.

Here’s my reading list I’m hoping to take some notes on and compile a plan as to how to navigate these personally uncharted waters from some who have been there and done that. I’m sure I won’t agree with all they have to say, but I’m hoping all of it will help me know what I want to do and don’t want to do with my house full of boys….

You Have What it Takes, by John Eldredge.

The Dangergous Book for Boys

Passed through the Fire, by Rick Bundschuh

Raising a Modern Day Knight, by Robert Lewis

Bringing up Boys, by James Dobson

Any other recommended reads?


  1. I’m inclined to believe that the Dobson book is a joke, although I suspect that it might not be. Either way, I think it would be beneficial to give time to books exploring the “less rugged” forms of masculinity. I have a few friends who were hurt by Eldredge and Dobson, and their view on what it means to be a man. There’s nothing wrong with a boy who wants to hunt, fish, hike and camp… but some boys will find their identity in dance, art, fashion, theatre and vegetarianism.

    As far as recommendations go I like author Shmuley Boteach quite a bit right now.

  2. hey Trev,

    I’m going to read the whole list, including the Dobson one. I kind of think it might be a bit of a joke and very little of what Dobson does is up my alley, but I think as a dad of 3 boys, being aware of what he says and asking the Holy Spirit to use it in my life might be worth it. I might quit 3 chapters in, but I’m going to try it at least. Like I said, I’m not sure I’ll agree with a bunch of what is said by many of them and the modern day knight thing-a-jig looks a little cheesy to me.

    As for diversity of interests, everyone of my boys is different- like TJ is very much a reader and way more musical that I will ever be. He likes drama and my guess is he’s not going to be the huge athlete or whatever, but I’m looking for some rite of passage insights.

    I’ve started reading the book by Eldredge on fatherhood and while it’s a lot of the same of his other works, it does have some good insights on getting a band of men together to affirm boys in their development. I think while he talks about the great outdoors, I do think there’s something to be said for the adventure and exploration factor in a boys life that is applicable to a lot of interests.

    As a father of 3, I feel a lot of pressure to get this right. As for Shmuley, does he or she write books on this subject? I have not read or heard of this person, but I’m open to it. Is there a book you think is helpful in this learning and leading task I’m embarking on?

  3. Anonymous says:

    From one Brian Berry to the Other,

    Hello Brian,

    I just did a google search on my, (our) name and was pleasantly suprised to find you blog. I is great to see that there is more than one Brian Berry that has the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. May our Lord bless and direct you as you diligently work at raise you son in the love and grace of our Heavenly Father. Great Blogging.

    In His Name,
    Brian Berry
    Litchfield, NH

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