06.01.2011 The Basics No Comments

The Basics of Daddy Discipleship

Daddy Discipleship begins with six simple sayings. When spoken to your children daily, and discussed as opportunity provides, these sayings can transform your child’s perspective of who God is and who your child is in the eyes of God. Through a faithful application of the sayings, the child will begin to understand what it is that God desires of him or her and how he or she can bring glory to God through a life which reflects being made in His image.

Whether you say these phrases to your children at bedtime, the breakfast table, or before sports practice, the main point is to say them regularly.

1. “I love you.”

Too many children go through a typical day without hearing these three simple words. Some parents contend that their love is understood or implied through their actions. Other parents do not say the words I love you because they did not hear these words themselves while growing up. Whatever the case may be, start telling your child, no matter how old, that he or she is loved. Tell them daily.

2. “I am proud of you.”

Do not wait for your child to hit a home-run or get straight A’s in Algebra to express your pride. Our pride in our children should not be based upon their performance, even though pop-culture says otherwise. If we begin to tell our children that we are proud of them just for being, then their self-esteem won’t rest on the hinge of performance based success.

3. “You are special to me.”

Every child in his or her own way is special. You should not ask the question “Is my child special?” Rather, you should ask “In what way is my child special?” What characteristics about your child make them special? Is it his or her sense of humor, desire to lead, or simply the way your child wants to be held? You may remind your child that they are special based upon the sheer fact that God has entrusted you, the parent, with the child’s life.

4. “I think you are smart.”

Every child, each in their own way, is smart. Will every child get straight A’s? No. Will every child go to, or even graduate from, college? Most likely not. Does this mean that they are not smart? By no means. Do not measure smartness by cultural standards. Do not find opportunity to discuss a child’s short-comings, but seek occasion to glory in his or her achievements no matter how small they may seem.

5a. “I think you are handsome” (Boys)

Have you ever thought about the fact that if you do not tell your son he is handsome, someone else may? What if that other person, whether movie star, sports hero, or music personality suggests that your son could be more handsome by living up to worldly standards (clothing, hair style, or jewelry)? Think about it, if you tell your son every day that he is handsome, he should never feel the need to seek approval from others. After you tell him he is handsome, make sure to reassure him that he is handsome because he is made in the image of God.

5b. “I think you are beautiful.” (Girls)

We have all heard the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” As fathers, we are the beholders of our daughter’s self-esteem in many ways. By telling your daughter that you think she is beautiful in no way suggests that you think she is the most beautiful person, but it just may prevent her from seeking the world’s beauty or the input of another man. It is also important to emphasize that her beauty does not rest in outward appearance, but rather it rests in her inner self. After telling your daughter that you think she is beautiful, ask her if she knows why you think she is beautiful. At this point you can begin to teach her that she is beautiful because she is made in the image of God, and not for any other reason.

6a. “I think you are cool.” (Boys)

It seems safe to say that no matter what generation a boy grows up in, being cool is important. The danger lies in how coolness is measured. If you watch MTV it is measured one way. If you watch Sponge Bob Square Pants, it is measured in another way. Tell your son that you think he is cool. That way when he is faced with a bully who says otherwise, he will have your words to lean on.

6b. “You are all mine.” (Girls)

Weddings usually begin with the bride walking down the aisle on her father’s arm for the sole purpose being given away. No matter what the relationship between father and daughter has been like up to this point, it is tradition for the father to give his daughter away. Personally, I want this event at my daughters’ weddings to be more than tradition. From the time my daughters were born to the time I walk them down that aisle, I am the man in their lives. I am the man responsible to nurture and protect them. I am the man that has their purity in mind. I am their daddy. I always will be their daddy. One day, however, I will hand them over to another protector and nurturer. But until that day, they are all mine.

About the author

Ryan is the Founder & Director of Daddy Discipleship and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Discipleship & Family Ministry.