Only from Dad: 5 Things to Teach Your Child


One of the main goals of this blog is to encourage and challenge you to make the most of every opportunity you have with your children, because your time with them is fleeting.

They grow up so fast, and before we know it they’re moving out and getting on with their lives. Also, it’s sobering but true: none of us have a guarantee that we’ll be here tomorrow. You never know when something tragic could happen.

So it’s important to have your priorities straight. It’s too easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and coast along.

A while back, we heard about a great idea from a committed father named Bob—a way to be purposeful about the time he has left with his three sons at home. Part of living out that commitment includes leading regular family meetings, where everyone has a chance to talk about what’s going on and share any concerns they may have.

Father and son in garageOne day Bob came to the family time with this exercise: each of the boys had to come up with five things they wanted to learn before they leave home. Bob and his wife came up five things they thought their sons needed to learn as well.

By the next meeting, the boys had listed things like: how to fix various things on the car; how to manage their time; how to find a job; how to cook eggs and French toast; how to fix or replace a faucet.

What would your kids say? Maybe it’s time to ask.

Sometimes teenagers act like they already know everything, but eventually all kids realize that they don’t. They’ll leave home one day and there’s a lot of information and skills they’ll need if they’re going to do well on their own.

A big part of our job is coaching them now as we prepare them for that time. There are hundreds or even thousands of things our children need to see and do and learn, and as dads, we’re in the best position to teach them many of those things. It’s a never-ending task, so we need to get started.

So, your number one action point for today is to follow Bob’s lead and ask your kids what they want to learn from you. Start with five things for now; you can always add to them later, or start a new list once you have the first one checked off.

It’s a great exercise to help get some specific goals in front of you for each of your kids. And it might help you keep them as a high priority and make the most of every opportunity you have with them.

Also, there are several helpful books that go hand-in-hand with today’s topic, and you might want to check them out: 1001 Things Your Kids Should See and Do—Or Else They’ll Never Leave Home and 1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They Leave Home.

What are the most important things you’ve taught your children—and what do they still want to learn from you? Join the discussion either below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Talk with your children’s mother about an age-appropriate goal or skill for each of your children to learn (and for you to work on with them) during the next month—tying shoe laces, doing dishes, mowing the grass, finding useful information on the Internet, checking the air in the car’s tires, etc.
  • Give your children a glimpse of your budget and regular bills you pay, so they gain a better understanding of how much it costs just to keep the lights on and food in the pantry.
  • No matter what your child’s age, recruit him or her to assist you this weekend as you take care of a routine home maintenance task.
  • Help your kids find authors that they love to read.


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Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.