Robin Williams was an amazing talent. Although he was an unbelievable comedian, I always enjoyed his dramatic portrayals more. One of his most powerful scenes came in the movie Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon. Damon’s character, Will, had gone through foster care. During that time, he had been severely physically abused. Williams played his therapist and repeats to him over and over that it is not his fault. He never deserved nor should he have ever been treated that way. Will was violated and victimized by cruel people. Will’s consistent response was that he knew it wasn’t his fault. Deep down though, he didn’t know it. He just knew that was the right answer. Deep down, there were unanswered questions, “Was I deserving of abuse? Does anyone want to be with me? Am I worth anything to anyone?”
In the story of Good Will Hunting, those unanswered questions caused issues of self-doubt, fear and anger. This led to trouble with the law and relational difficulty. When his internal questions were finally answered, his life took a different direction. As boys are growing up, there are several essential questions they need answered. Helping answer these questions is crucial. Here are three questions all boys need answered.
What Is My Purpose?
Every boy, and man, needs a battle to fight, a mountain to climb or a race to run. They need a mission to fulfill: a designed purpose for their lives. We were made with that embedded in our core, and it is important to boys. Our sons have natural talents and abilities that have been given to them by their Creator. Some of their gifts may be similar to yours and some to their mom, but these gifts are still uniquely theirs. We cannot tell them their purpose; they must find it themselves. However, we can help them identify their gifts, give encouragement and guide them towards the answer.
Do I Have What It Takes?
Deep down, every boy will ask this question. They will wonder if they have the tangibles and intangibles to conquer the challenges before them. No one can answer this question better than a father. They will look to you to give them the assurance they need. When we do not answer this question with strong affirmation, it will confirm a sense of self-doubt. They will spend the rest of their lives trying to prove themselves to us. Insecurity will be their driving force rather than living out their mission.
Am I a Man?
They need to know what makes a man. There isn’t anyone else on earth who can answer this question other than a dad. You need to define manhood, model it, lead them to it and communicate when they have achieved it. Otherwise, they will live with a lack of proper identity.
What do you think is the most significant thing to teach boys?
BJ Foster is the director of content creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.
This article originally appeared at allprodad.com.