Howard Graham
Howard Graham

Howard Graham

Howard Graham is the Chaplain at PDS and is the Executive Director of the Building Boys, Making Men program. He is married to Kimberley and they have a girl and three boys. He can be reached at

Building Boys, Making Men is a PDS-created program designed to give boys a godly vision and definition of manhood. We believe that boys should be intentionally taught about authentic manhood and have a biblical framework for making wise and edifying choices during their teenage years and beyond. The definition of manhood we teach our boys:

A real man glorifies God by seeking an adventurous life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others.

With Thanksgiving so late this year it’s easy for Advent to sneak up on us! Don’t worry, we’ve got your back, and are bringing back our family oriented Advent devotional for you to use as a tool in your home again this season.

Have you ever played rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to go last—or to see who gets to sit in the backseat?

My college roommate would yell “backseat!” every time the two of us rode with another diver. He also had the unique custom of tipping the ice cream server for his milkshake at Baskin Robbins. He explained, “Think about it…you tip the bartender, and all they do is knock the top off of a bottle. The person making your milkshake spends so much more time with your order.” He was a strong, yet empathetic leader in college and continues to be one now. I think that growing up in a household of four kids taught him that life was about much more than him—and these lessons have had a great deal to do with his success.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

You Can’t Do It All. Stop Trying!

A little help navigating all there is to do for your kids.

Birthday parties. Sports games and practices. Music recitals and lessons. Tutoring. Help in homeroom. Classroom events. Chapel. Help with homework. Parenting events. Robotics. Scouts. Lunch with your child. After-school adventures.

And that is just part of a list for one child at one school. You might also have just as much to do for other children, as well as plans as a family, taking care of other relatives, neighborhood gatherings, and church and social commitments. Not to mention the fact that you work and need some personal downtime every now and then.

If you are like most parents, you may feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. You may even feel anxiety or guilt over not doing some of the things available to you and your kids.

Our kids love superheroes—but we don’t outgrow our need for heroes as adults. We might not have the same heroes as our kids, but we all have people we look up to. Who are your heroes? What attributes make them stand out to you?

See if these three things don’t describe your heroes:

  • They use what they have been given in an extraordinary way for the benefit of others
  • Their efforts take courage and faith
  • They don’t seek attention or glory for themselves

We tend not to hold people in high regard who use their gifts solely for themselves or seek praise for themselves. Even fictional characters we admire—heroes like Superman or Ironman—don’t use their strength and might to score goals to improve their own life.

This month, we are teaching the boys about being a Humble Hero. A Humble Hero uses the gifts they have been given by God for others. This is what it means to give glory to God. The Bible says it this way.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Building Boys, Making Men - Resources

5th Grade - The Seven Virtues of Manhood

At PDS, we want every boy to learn what it really means to be a man. That’s why we wrote The 7 Virtues of Manhood, which walks boys through each of the virtues and shows them what the virtues look like in daily life — at school, with friends, at home, and with God.

Each month, 5th-grade boys are reading that chapter for that month’s virtue — you can see what this month’s virtue is above.

5th Grade Assignments 2019 - 2020


Thursday, 29 - Friday, 30 - Breakaway at Victory Ranch

September - True Friend:

Memorize John 15:12
Thursday, 12 - pgs. 2 - 9
Thursday, 26 - pgs. 10 –15

October - Humble Hero:

Memorize 1 Peter 4:10
Thursday, 24 - pgs. 19 - 26

November - Servant Leader:

Memorize Philipians 2:3–4
Thursday, 7 - pgs. 29 - 35


Thursday, 5 - Mentor Groups

January - Pacesetter:

Memorize 1 Timothy 4:12
Thursday, 16 - pgs. 39 - 43 (until “Being Pacesetters” on 43)
Thursday, 30 - pgs. 43 - 50

February - Bold Adventurer:

Memorize Joshua 1:9
Thursday, 13 - pgs. 53 - 62
Thursday, 27 - Mentor Groups

March - Noble Knight:

Memorize Isaiah 32:8
Thursday, 19 - pgs. 65 - 70
Thursday, April 2 - pgs. 71 - 74

April - Faithful Follower:

Memorize John 10:27
Thursday, 9 - 5th graders lead chapel
Thursday, 16 - pgs. 77–78
Thursday, 30 - pgs. 79 - 84


Thursday, 14 - Hopes/Dreams/Fears about 6th Grade

The Seven Virtues of Manhood


6th Grade - Flight Plan

To equip boys as they grow into men, PDS spent the past 20 years developing Flight Plan, a clear, candid guidebook that unpacks what godly manhood is and what it looks like in daily life — in peer pressure, puberty, grades, dating, and more.

6th Grade Assignments 2019 - 2020


Thursday, 22 - Friday, 23 - Victory Ranch Breakaway


Wednesday, 4 - First meeting
Wednesday, 11 - Ch. 1: Prepare for Takeoff
Wednesday, 18 - Ch. 2: The Six Myths
Tuesday, 24 - BBMM Forum - Myths of Manhood (jacket and tie)
Wednesday, 25 - Man In The Arena Event
Friday, 27–29 - Father/Son St. Louis Trip


Wednesday, 2 - Mentor Meeting
Wednesday, 16 - Ch. 3: The Seven Virtues
Tuesday, 22 - BBMM Forum - True Friend (jacket and tie)
Wednesday, 30 - Ch. 4: Finding Your True Friends


Wednesday, 6 - Thanksliving
Wednesday, 13 - Ch. 5: Resisting Peer Pressure
Tuesday, 19 - BBMM Forum - Peer Pressure (jacket and tie)


Wednesday, 4 - Mentor Groups
Wednesday, 11 - Ch. 6: The Dangers of Alcohol and Drugs


Wednesday, 8 - ERB
Wednesday, 15 - Ch. 7: Relationships and Dating
Friday, 17 - BBMM Forum - Puberty (jacket and tie)
Wednesday, 22 - Ch. 8: Understanding Puberty


Wednesday, 5 - Mentor Group
Wednesday, 12 - Ch. 9: Purity and Porn
Wednesday, 19 - Mentor Group
Tuesday, 25 - BBMM Forum - Screens or Family & Father Son Banquet (jacket and tie)
Wednesday, 26 - Ch. 10: Screens, Stories and Songs


Wednesday, 4 - Mentor Group
Tuesday, 17 - BBMM Forum - High School Girls and Dating (jacket and tie)
Wednesday, 18 - Ch. 11: Loving Your Family
Wednesday, 25 - Mentor Group


Wednesday, 1 - Ch. 12: Why School Matters
Friday, 3 - Mother/Son Luncheon
Wednesday, 8 - Mentor Groups
Tuesday, 14 - BBMM Forum - High School Boys on life skills (jacket and tie)
Wednesday, 15 - Ch. 13: Targeting True Success
Wednesday, 22 - Mentor Groups
Wednesday, 29 - Ch. 14: Cleared for Takeoff


Wednesday, 6 - Review Book
Monday, 18 - Rib/White-Out Day
Friday, 15 - Father/Son Retreat

You can explore more Flight Plan resources for you and your son — like discussion questions, life skill infographics, and action steps — at Just go to to create your account.

Flight Plan

The Faithful Follower

Is Loved by God

● Gives up control of his life to Christ
● Lives his life faithfully in response to the gospel
● Saved by grace
● Leads a joyful life
● Lives with God’s promises in mind
● Is completely committed
● Studies God’s Word



TitleAuthorPDS Teacher Recommending It
Gift Of Failure Jessica Lahey Glenn
Counterfeit Gods Tim Keller Graham
Love Does Study Guide Discover A Secretly Incredible Life I Bob Goff Graham
Bringing Up Boys James Dobson Hancock
Raising Cain Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson Hancock
Anxious For Nothing Max Lucado Spain
Power Of A Praying Parent Stormie Omartian Southerland
Tech Wise Family Andy Crouch Graham
Shepherding A Childs Heart 2 E Tedd Tripp Isom
Boys & Girls Learn Differently Michael Gurian Southerland
Before We Were Yours Lisa Wingate Burkart
Perfect Horse Elizabeth Letts Burkart
We Were The Lucky Ones Georgia Hunter Burkart
All The Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr Cross
All We Ever Wanted Emily Griffin Cross
By Invitation Only Dorothea Benton Frank Cross
High Tide Club Mary Kay Andrews Cross
Something In The Water Catherine Steadman Cross
That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week Ana Homayoun Glenn
Boundaries With Kids Henry Cloud & John Townsend Graham
Desiring God Rev E John Piper Graham
Love Does Study Guide Discover A Secretly Incredible Life I Bob Goff Graham
Sacred Marriage Gary Thomas Graham
Study Bible-ESV Graham
Wild At Heart John Eldredge Graham
Best Friends Worst Enemies Michael Thompson Hancock
Blessing Of A Skinned Knee Wendy Mogel Hancock
Good Faith Being A Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irr David Kinsman and Gabe Lyons Hancock
Last Child In The Woods Rev RIchard Louv Hancock
Quiet Susan Cain Hancock
5 Love Languages Of Children Gary Chapman,PhD; Ross Campbell, MD Isom
Best Friends Worst Enemies Michael Thompson Isom
How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish Isom
Mindset Carol S. Dweck Isom
Parenting By The Book John Rosemond Isom
Power Of Moments Chip Heath & Dan Heath Isom
Well Behaved Child John Rosemond Isom
Mindset Carol S. Dweck M. Smith
Love Does Study Guide Discover A Secretly Incredible Life I Bob Goff M.Smith
Uninvited Study Guide Lysa TerKeurst Smith, Melissa
Mindset Carol S. Dweck Southerland
Power Of Praying For Your Adult Children Mini Stormie Omartian Southerland
Reason For God Tim Keller Southerland
Tender Warrior New Edition Southerland
Anxious For Nothing Max Lucado Spain
Boundaries With Kids Henry Cloud & John Townsend Spain
Red Sea Rules Robert J. Morgan Spain
Wild Things Stephen James/David Thomas Spain
All The Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr Wright
Broken Road Richard Paul Evans Wright
Forgotten Road Richard Paul Evans Wright
Make Your Bed William McRaven Wright
Nightingale Kristen Hannah Wright
President Is Missing James Patterson and Bill Clinton Wright

Over the past weeks, we have explored how to help our children grow up like Jesus—“in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). We have seen how to help our kids grow in wisdom and stature. Now we turn our focus to growing in favor with God and man.


This is the second article in a three part series on helping our children grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

As we continue our series on growing to be like Jesus in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52), this article focuses on what it means to grow in stature. You can find the introduction to this series here, and the article on wisdom here.

Quick—think of someone you admire. What four or five attributes do you admire about them?

Maybe you thought of their talents or skills—or even their strength or their intelligence. But it’s likely most of the things you thought of have to do with character.

We should think about our kids in a similar way. We want our kids to grow physically and develop skills in academics, arts, and sports, is that really what we want our kids to be known for? I think we want our children to be known for their character—for being brave or kind or wise.

Growing in stature means developing physically and developing a reputation. As a parent which part of growing in stature can you have the biggest impact on as you spend time with them and shape them? Certainly not height! And while you can have some impact on the skills your children develop, you can have a huge impact on the development of their character.

5th grade parents,

Your boys received their 7 Virtues Of Manhood books today. If you did not get a copy of the book and a parent guide at the parent meeting last month, a copy of each of those is in your son’s backpack today for you.

Taking the time to go through this book with your son will have a big impact on him. Here are the things we mentioned at the parent meeting that will help make it the most meaningful:

  • Set aside a time for him for each chapter
  • See the schedule inside the parent guide
  • Read the chapter and discussion guide first
  • Make it special
  • Communicate with your son’s mentor when you think they can help your son with something
  • Memorize verses with him

You can also visit the site for more information and don’t hesitate to reach out to me at anytime

In Christ,

Thursday, September 05, 2019

The True Friend - Stand Up, Stand By

We all love having friends, but are we good at being friends?

Think back to your best friends when you were in elementary school or middle school. What do you remember about those friendships? Can you remember times when you really needed a friend and someone stood by you? Can you remember a time when a friend stood up for you when no one else did? What about the time that a friend stood up to you when you were doing the wrong thing?


This is the first article in a three part series on helping our children grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

I recently read an article about how artificial intelligence will transform so many things that the entire way schools teach children must change. The article argued that most of what is done in the workplace will soon be done by machines and robots. If artificial intelligence can provide most of the knowledge and skills traditionally taught in schools, the author suggests, the most important thing we can teach is character. Skills and information might become irrelevant, but character is essential to navigating every part of history—even the years ahead of us.

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The Faithful Follower

Is Loved by God

● Gives up control of his life to Christ
● Lives his life faithfully in response to the gospel
● Saved by grace
● Leads a joyful life
● Lives with God’s promises in mind
● Is completely committed
● Studies God’s Word