Raising Boys to Become Good Men
June 19 marks Father’s Day. How do fathers raise boys to become good men of favorable character or tendency? While they may not be childrearing experts, the following Mississippians have sincere and valuable opinions on this question.
Cregg M. Puckett, Chaplain (Colonel), Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG), is the husband of Melissa and father to fully-grown daughter, Makayla; grown son, Dylan; Lane (15); and Luke (11). Puckett is a student at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. His son, Dylan, deployed to Africa with the MSARNG, follows in his footsteps.
In Puckett’s opinion, faith is the driving force, and modeling that faith is important.
“I had the benefit of being raised by a consistent man of faith who worked hard to provide for his family,” Puckett said. “He spent time with his family and raised his three sons to be responsible men of faith who strive to do the same.”
Puckett believes “goodness” is a generational dynamic.
“I have enjoyed knowing men who have abundant love for their families,” he said. These men go to great lengths to sacrificially demonstrate love for the family unit. Puckett said that kind of love is contagious, and will be handed down for generations.
“Someone once told me, ‘rules without relationship equals rebellion.’ You must have rules for children to develop properly,” Puckett said. “Parents do their children a disservice if they do not provide discipline in the home.”
“None of us can do it perfectly, I have to apologize to my own at times, but our children will tolerate some imperfection if it is given in love,” he said. “We want our children to be good and have the best in life. If the proper motive is there, the implementation, imperfect as it may be, is well received.”
Puckett’s unsure how he will celebrate Father’s Day. He says he’s likely to gather with family in Pennsylvania, although moving back to Mississippi is in the works.
Brandon Davis is a history teacher and Head Baseball Coach at George County High School in Lucedale, and pastor of Vernal Full Gospel Church. Davis and his wife, Tabitha, are parents of three sons: Jackson (18); Ben (15); Grant (9); and twin girls, Sadie and Sophie (6).
Davis’ opinions on parenting are also shaped by his faith.
This dad holds a belief that a “good man” knows his own talents and limitations. A father must stretch his sons in order for them to discover their own aptitudes and drawbacks. Davis advises fathers to work alongside their sons and show them what it looks like to labor and rest. He demonstrates what it looks like to compete and be successful, but also how to be frustrated and not know the answer. Sons should not be scared to ask for help.
“If your sons see that failure is part of the process, they will not be as afraid of it,” Davis said.
The question of discipline can be touchy – controversial, even – for parents with differing views, but Davis is sure of where he stands on the topic.
“Discipline is key, but being consistent is even more important,” he said. “I was fortunate to have a father who showed me this, as well as a grandfather who displayed these qualities and characteristics on a daily basis, not when it was convenient or when people were watching.”
“I have learned that they are all different,” Davis said, of his sons, “and without a relationship with each individual, I will miss out on what it takes for them to become good men.”
Davis has coached baseball for 20 years. His players have made it to Major League Baseball, Division One, and community colleges.
“I have coached hundreds of dads,” he said. “My goal as a coach is to show them how to be good men, not necessarily MLB players. The statistics show that I am developing way more fathers than major league prospects.”
Davis plans to celebrate Father’s Day simply, by attending church and going out to eat.
Mary and Lester Hatcher have been married for 64 years. Lieutenant Colonel Hatcher is a retired Air Force pilot and was Director of Counseling at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg for 30 years. The Hatchers are parents of four, and they have 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. The Hatchers reside in an assisted living facility in Iuka. Mary Hatcher, a retired Registered Nurse, gives this advice based on her opinions regarding raising good sons:
– Be a role model, and teach the importance of a spiritual life.
– Spend quality time with them one-on-one.
– Model and teach honesty, integrity, truthfulness, morals and a good work ethic.
– Engage in outdoor recreational activities with them like camping, fishing and hiking.
– Listen to them.
The wisdom of Puckett, Davis, and the Hatchers confirms that the task of raising boys to become good men, although daunting, is very possible. Happy Father’s Day!
Writer Mary C. Fairley is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She resides in Lucedale with her husband, Buddy. Mary is a mother and grandmother. In addition to Parents & Kids, her work has been featured in Country Woman, DeSoto Magazine | Exploring the South, and Mississippi Magazine.