Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: Raising Real Men

Recently, I was accepted into the Timberdoodle blogger review program. Timberdoodle is a company that sells homeschool curriculum and other educational products, so as you can imagine, I am thrilled to have the privilege of doing some reviews for them! Every time I receive one of their catalogs, there is so much cool stuff to drool over. :) (In fact, if you've never heard of Timberdoodle, be sure to click on this link and sign up for a free catalog!)

My first product to review was a book called Raising Real Men. I was super excited to read this book, because just the title alone is great--and Jim and I truly desire to raise our sons to be "real men." So the title drew my interest right away, and I also loved the subtitle: "Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys." The authors, Hal and Melanie Young, are themselves the parents of six boys (and two girls) so they have just a *bit* of experience in raising sons. :)

Raising Real Men is divided into two main sections. Part 1 is called "Virtues in the Rough," and it is "a look at some of the masculine characteristics or tendencies which are present in all of our sons. These are meant to ripen into the manly virtues of the adult male when they've been properly understood, disciplined, cultivated, and practiced." (p. 27) Some of these virtues include the adventurous spirit, tendency toward competitiveness, and aggression. The chapters in this section cover things such as the need for boys to have heroes to look up to (the right kind of heroes!), developing courage and boys' natural love for adventure, teaching responsibility and developing independence, discipline and teaching obedience in order to develop servant leaders, and much more. There was so much practical advice in this section and I found it to be really encouraging and helpful. There is even a chapter called "Taking Up Arms," discussing toy guns and other "violent" toys, and how we as parents can encourage our boys to be the good guys and defenders against imaginary enemies in their play. One day they may be called to join the military, where they will be defending freedom for real!

{our own little "real men" in the making}

Part 2 of the book is called "Civilization for the Tough," and focuses on how to "teach our sons the things they will need to interact in society, to lead their families, to serve God" (p. 126). As the authors say, "In the first part of this book, we talked a lot about the things boys do naturally that drive us crazy . . . unless and until they are molded and shaped into the manly virtues. Now we are going to talk about the things we want boys to do that drive them crazy . . . unless and until we help them see the purposes, the goals, and the principles involved." (p. 127) The chapters in this section address topics such as spiritual training, teaching stewardship and money management, homeschooling, serving others, preparing for college, future marriage, and beyond.

I enjoyed this book wholeheartedly, and found so much practical advice on raising boys. I especially loved the chapter on homeschooling, and found several tips that I've already put into use just in the past couple weeks! It was really encouraging to realize once again that my seven year old boy is completely normal. :) I also really liked the authors' style. This book was really fun to read, due to their down-to-earth writing and all the humor they used to illustrate their points. The final chapter, "Firing the Arrow," was very challenging and a great end to this book. Here's a quote that I underlined: "This is why we work to raise real men. There is a time to protect our sons and a time for them to start protecting others. There is a time to teach and disciple and control the influences our sons face, then there is a time for them to instruct others and to meet those influences and conquer them." (p. 230)

Raising Real Men is an all-around excellent book, and one I will be referring back to over and over. I highly recommend it for all parents of boys! Thanks to the Youngs for writing it, and to Timberdoodle for the opportunity to review it!

Legal Disclosure:
As a member of
Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Raising Real Men in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.


Unknown said...

Great review, thanks for sharing this awesome-sounding resource! I'm definitely one that is frustrated with my boys but I'm positive it's because I don't "get" them most of the time. Growing up with just one sister sibling and being raised by a single-mom I've not EVER been exposed like this to boys! Looking forward to reading this one for myself! (Have you read Dobson's book about raising boys?)

Nikki said...

How neat that you get to do reviews for Timberdoodle.I love that company.I have never read a book on raising boys but it is different then the girls.:)It is different for my husband too who only had sisters for years.There are nine years between him and his younger brother so they never really did much together growing up.I can't imagine my boys not having each other.They are usually digging up some adventure together.

Mrs. Smith said...

I loved reading your review! I am so glad that you are getting to review for Timberdoodle--they made a great choice! Also, the book sounds wonderful!

Kathleen said...

Carrie ~ I appreciate your blog so much! I think I will definitely have to read this book! Sounds like a lot of really useful and neat information!
Have a wonderful day! :)

1HappyWife said...

What fun to review for Timberdoodle! They always have such neat stuff. I am much better reading a review, I don't often get through a whole book (at least not in the order it is written).
How often will they send you things to review?

Hal & Melanie Young said...

I'm delighted our book was a blessing to you, Carrie.

I'd love for you and your readers to join us on Facebook at and check out our blog at

Thank you for a lovely review1

Melanie Young