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Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys Review by Kim Kargbo

By Hal and Melanie Young
Great Waters Press
1215 S. Crescent Dr.
Smithfield, NC 27577

Hal and Melanie Young have been blessed with six young men to raise (and two young women) and share openly and honestly about the joys and challenges of raising boys to be men of God. This book is similar to Dr. Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys, but with a decidedly homeschool slant. Raising Real Men considers the real-life challenges of rearing boys but with a view on the Scriptures and what God says about men and boys. The authors tackle the issues of disciplining, teaching, training, and surviving boys with honesty, grace, and humor. They address the issues of mom's relationship with sons and homeschooling boys. They give real-life examples, and practical applications to the principles they present.

This book is enlightening, challenging, refreshing, and inspiring. Any mother (or parent in general) who has questions or is discouraged in the raising of sons should read this book. You will be encouraged. Hal and Melanie don't sugarcoat the raising of sons or over-spiritualize the issues as other books on parenting boys have done. They base every claim they make in the Scripture, backing up their decisions and principles with Biblical roots. But they don't make it sound simple, leaving those who are struggling feeling as if this book is not meant for them. Hal and Melanie have six sons--all born sinners. They know the ups and downs of raising boys, but they address those challenges with a view of capitalizing on the gifts and qualities that God has inherently built into boys to cause them to grow to be men. The authors often take a slightly different stance on issues than the homeschool mainstream, but you will have difficulty arguing with their carefully laid out rationale. And they present their opinions with grace, leaving room for individual differences of opinion on the nonessentials.

I highly recommend this book for any homeschooling family that contains boys. Families that have only girls would benefit from reading it too, especially before they begin adding boys to their family through marriage. The only drawback I see to this book is that it is so specifically geared to homeschoolers that it would be difficult to give to a non-homeschooling family. They may see it as only a "homeschool" book and miss the benefits to be gained from the principles contained in it.

Product review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2010