One thing we all enjoy is receiving encouragement.
Encouragement is defined as, “The action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”
Think about your favorite teacher, your favorite coach, or your favorite boss. Chances are, they were very good at encouraging you. Great teachers, coaches, and bosses motivate us to believe that we have what it takes to achieve our goals. We all love to know that someone believes in us, right? Our kids love that too!
God is a Father that believes in us. He believes we have what it takes because He made us in His image. But we also need to know that we don’t fully have what it takes, apart from a relationship with God. We “have what it takes” because of what we were born with, combined with our beliefs, actions, choices, and especially our faith and reliance on God.
God has great plans for us:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Our sons and daughters
Our sons and daughters want and need the approval of their dads. Whether it is through words, written notes, facial expressions, or hugs, they need to know we believe in them.
Let’s look at an example of how we can give encouragement and confidence to our children. This is a great example of instilling confidence that is rooted in God and not in our own abilities apart from Him. In this passage from the Bible, King David is nearing the end of his reign as King of Israel, and getting ready to turn over the reign to his son, Solomon:
Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it.
Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God,
is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work
for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”
(1 Chronicles 28:20-21 ESV)
“Be strong and courageous and do it.” That’s an awesome vote of confidence to Solomon from his father on earth! The Lord God will “not leave you or forsake you.” That’s an awesome vote of confidence from his Father in heaven!
If we can pass on this kind of belief and encouragement from both their earthly father and their heavenly Father, our kids will experience a lot more confidence and hope.
Ways to encourage
Your children may be toddlers, teenagers, or adults. Regardless of their age, there is a very good chance they may be thinking and asking often, “How was that, Dad?”, or “Did I do OK?”
Here are some ways to let them know you believe that they are doing great and that they have what it takes:
- When you are in the stands at their sporting event, and they look over, make sure you are giving them a thumbs-up and a smile, not a scowl
- Pray with them, affirming their status as loved and approved children of God
- Let them tell you their ideas and participate in decision-making (e.g., where to eat, how to get somewhere, how they should solve a problem, etc.)
- Leave encouraging notes on their bathroom mirror or in their backpack overnight
- Send them an encouraging bible verse or short text message to let them know you are thinking about them and praying for their big test or try-out. Tell them “They got this” and “God is with them.”\
As we fulfill our role as dads, it is important to keep in mind these TRUTHS about God as our Father:
- God loves you unconditionally
- God is proud to call you “son”
- God is for you and not against you
We can then apply these as dads, so that our children hear, see, and know these three TRUTHS in their hearts.
- My Dad loves me unconditionally (so does God)
- My Dad is proud of me (so is God)
- My Dad is for me, not against me (so is God)
Finally, it is important not to do all of this “dad stuff” on your own. Talk with your wife and other dads and talk to God. Just like all aspects of our lives, we need to learn to constantly include God and depend on Him. Here is an easy prayer to help you do that.
A Dad’s Prayer: Lord, help me to be a Father more like you. Help me to show more love and belief in my children, the way you show to me. Thank you for being a great Father to me. Amen.
Brian Goslee is an author, speaker, and founder of Changed Through Faith Ministries . Their mission is to help families grow closer to God and each other, using fun and relevant faith-infused events and resources. Brian’s life has been radically changed through active faith in Christ and he has a heart for helping others experience this in their lives.