The man guide to Proverb 31


Between the upcoming shows with Tony Johnson and the challenging brain of Betsy Hahn, I’ve been thinking harder than I wanted to about mentoring. (For Betsy’s Questions 1-4, look for How to be a Single Parent Without Getting on Everyone’s Nerves)

Betsy’s Question #5: What can leaders of a single-parent family do to make others more comfortable? “There are many hurdles. Finding a replacement husband asap is not a good idea because that’s fraught with issues,” she writes. Betsy’s wisdom comes laced with humor. One of my personal favorite tips on this topic came from Sandra Beck who advices moms to avoid putting pressure on other families. One way is to limit requests for mentoring time to specific “manly activities” that have a time limit, according to Sandra.

Here’s more on mentoring: the myth, the mystery, the magic:

The Myth - Most women think their sons will be worse off without good male mentoring. That simply isn’t true. I’d like to point out moms can inspire the right kind of leadership in their sons without any male role modeling at all.

The Mystery - God has not left us powerless, no matter our situation. For instance, Proverb 31 is a classic approach to how God wants women to raise sons who are good husbands and leaders, even when their father fails. Yet, those verses are often taught as a bondage for how to be perfect women. Groan.

If we go straight to the beautiful poem in verse 10, we miss the whole point of Proverb 31. Proverb 31 provides God’s wisdom from a mom to her son on leadership for his nation and his family. Proverb 31 is not for perfectionistic bondage at all. Of course, no part of scripture is meant for harm.

The Magic - Here we see that the author, possible King Solomon, devoted only nine verses to leading a kingdom. On the other hand, he recorded his mother’s wisdom for leading a wife in twenty-two verses. Oh-so-much humor in those numbers!

First, it must be twice as hard to lead wives as to rule kingdoms. That’s a good thing to keep in mind as we coach our sons.

Second, only twenty-two verses on wife-leading? Now, we know for sure Solomon was the wisest man ever!

Here’s my favorite take-away, though: Basically, the best way to lead a wife is to praise her for every cotton-picking thing she does, whatever it is. She picked up your dirty socks; she’s the best roommate you’ve ever had. She fed the dog; look, how she cares for everyone in her life.

A son who can be grateful for every small thing is a son whose heart is well on the way to leadership.

Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Contact her at


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