Okay, so maybe your child’s introverted, angry, too cool for school or has some other communication issue that’s tough to connect with. You still have a job to do—which is if I had to sum up in two words is: affirm character.
It’s true. Most dads who have communication issues with their children are usually either the “no-talking” dad or the “field-general” dad – they either say nothing at all most of the time, or they just bark out orders.
But this can be fixed. We can learn to call out what God’s doing in our children. Let’s rise above the sports and academics and call out areas of spiritual giftedness. Let’s point our kids to God and what He’s doing in their lives. Let me show you the easiest way to call out what God’s doing in your child.
Question: Do you know your child’s spiritual gifts? Have you told them?
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
How to affirm character in your child [Video 2:59]
The above strategy is from The Connected Father digital course—full of videos, podcasts, eBooks, tip sheets and bonus resources to help you be the dad who leads with no regrets. Snag the full course at The Connected Father.
Most dads want their kids to be better listeners. But many of us aren’t modeling that very well. What we sow, mostly talking and not listening, is often what we reap. We can find common ground with our children and get them to connect with us. We need to get this right.
How often do you encourage your kids? Throwing pots and pans at them doesn’t count. I’m talking about encouragement that “calls out” who they are in Christ.
Do your kids have spiritual gifts and God-given talents? What are those?
For a fun – and perhaps somewhat painful exercise – right now, jot down the names of your children. Next to each name – write down a spiritual gift you believe they possess. You might need to read up on spiritual gifts – they can be found in a handful of places in the NT – Google it!
Now that you’ve identified their gifts – go tell them. Maybe it’s tonight at dinner, or tomorrow morning before school. You might say something like, “Hey Sarah, God seems to have given you the gift of mercy. I saw how you helped that other girl during volleyball practice yesterday. I love to see you using your gifts!”
Something simple and quick – you don’t have to belabor it. And strive to look beyond some natural talent, like the ability to shoot a basketball or draw well.
Those things are awesome, and can be used for God’s glory. But, they’re more “surface,” and spiritual giftedness addresses a more fundamental part of who your child is.
How about older children?
Even if your kids are grown and not under your roof – this is a great way to stay in touch and affirm them from a distance. Shoot your son or daughter a text or email validating that you notice how they’re gifted and exhort them to keep using that gift for God’s glory.
Most of us dads are not great at affirming our kids at all. Even for those of us who do this occasionally, we tend to default to things like grades, athletic prowess, or musical ability.
So, let’s flip that script and not only affirm our kids regularly – but, affirm their spiritual gifts and “call out” the work that God’s doing in their hearts and minds. That old saying is true: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Our kids feel the same way.
If you want to be a Connected Father, learn how each of your kids is uniquely gifted, and affirm this in them regularly.