What if dads were very intentional about affirmation? What if we proactively looked for ways to encourage our kids? 

Your teenage son gets a raise after just a few months at his new job. Your daughter has an amazing game as a goalie for her soccer team, even though her team loses by five goals. Interacting with your child, you’re simply struck by your daughter’s intelligence or beauty, or your son’s kindness. 

You surely have those feelings. Well, how do you respond? Why don’t we always express those good thoughts to our children? 

It’s true that sometimes, when we’re with our kids, what we feel is mostly frustration or even anger. That happens sometimes, and many of us probably need to work on how we respond. But today let’s focus on identifying and expressing the joy of fatherhood. 

Think about your kids and focus on the positive—times when you feel love, pride, admiration, or maybe humility and awe at the blessing of being a dad. The big question for you today is, Do your kids know how you feel?

For some dads, this comes natural because that’s just how they’re wired. But I’m sure many of us could do better at expressing the pride and joy we feel, and I have some examples to help you practice, if it will help. Try some of these phrases with your kids—and feel free to adapt them to fit your unique connection with each one: 

“Way to go. I’m proud of you.” 

“I love your positive attitude and perseverance.”

“You’re a blessing to me.”

“I can’t wait to see how God uses you and all of your gifts.”

“Hey, how’d you get to be so smart and beautiful at the same time?”

Also, remember that although some of the best affirmations are spoken and we should all be comfortable praising our kids verbally, there are other ways to deliver good words: notes in lunch boxes, cards on a pillow, texts or emails or even Facebook comments, or maybe a letter tucked in a place where your child will find it later. 

That’s what one dad did. As his son was leaving for college, he slipped a letter in his son’s backpack. The letter included lots of affirmations and blessings during a time of big adjustments for the son. Several months later when they were together, the son quoted a phrase from his dad’s letter. Clearly, he had read it several times and it meant a lot to him. 

Dad, whatever the situation, whether it’s a major accomplishment or an everyday act of kindness, when you see something that makes you proud, don’t just let it go. Make sure your kids know how you feel about them. It can really make a big difference—for them personally and for your relationship. 

I’ve provided a few examples, but please share your ideas. How do you affirm your kids for good deeds and accomplishments? Share your thoughts and connect with other dads on our Facebook page.

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