When I was 11, my family moved to a new city, and I hated it. I didn't like our new house, my new school or the kids in our new neighborhood. Every day I went to school, I just wanted to leave and fly back to my old town. So I used to fake like I was sick so I'd be sent home. After several days of this, my dad came to school and met me in the nurse's office. He talked about how he knew it was hard, but asked me to give it a try. I felt like I was no longer alone in the struggle. His presence was all I needed to change my attitude.
There's nothing like the father-son relationship. As a boy grows up, there will be many people who influence him and his development into adulthood. As a father, you are, and should be, his most important role model. He needs you. Tomorrow we'll cover the seven things a daughter needs from her dad. However, today, here are seven things a son needs from his father.
1. He needs you to love his mother: When you love your wife, or the mother of your son, you are showing him how to treat his mother, his sisters and all the women he'll meet in his life. This will set the foundation for the relationships he will have later in his life. If you are divorced and the relationship is difficult, do what you can to treat his mother with respect.
2. He needs to see you fail, not just succeed: The best teacher is failure. The best type of failure to learn from is someone else's. When your son sees you fail and handle the failure well, he sees that it is OK to make mistakes and that mistakes can be great teachers. A boy who is not afraid of making mistakes will grow into a man positioned to accept and conquer great challenges.
3. He needs your servant leadership: You may or may not be the boss at work. You may or may not be the pastor or minister at church. You may or may not be a leader in your community. But you are the leader of your family. Your son needs to see leadership in your home. He needs to see you leading by serving. When he sees you leading by serving, he will better understand leadership and be able to more effectively lead versus follow his peers. As he grows, he will better lead his family, lead at work, lead at church and lead in his community.
4. He needs you to be present: As you fulfill all the different roles you have, you may be pulled in multiple directions. He needs you to be present in his education, in his social life, in all areas of his life. Some areas are not intended for Mom only or for his friends only. Your presence in all areas will give him the support he needs.
5. He needs your love regardless of his choices: You may be the biggest sports junkie not living in Bristol, Conn. (where ESPN headquarters are located). And your son may not be able to kick a ball if you placed it on his toe or care that he can't. No matter what choices your son makes, he needs you to love him even if they are different than yours. Even when they are wrong choices. Your love and guidance will open the door to trust and acceptance that build your relationship. And this will build his self-esteem.
6. He needs you to affirm him: "I love you, son." "I'm proud of you, son." "You are amazing, son." "I know you can do it, son." "That was an amazing play you made!" "You are a hard worker." "You messed up, but I know you'll bounce back." Your son needs your encouragement. He needs to hear the words that let him know you love having him as a son.
7. He needs you to discipline him in love: When you discipline your son, you set boundaries and expectations. He is going to make mistakes, just as you did as a kid, and just as you do now. But he also needs to know that his actions have consequences. Disciplining him in love will teach him to consider the consequences his actions will have. This will prepare him to think and evaluate the choices he makes both now and in the future.
Huddle up with your son and ask, "What is your favorite father/son activity?"
This article originally appeared at allprodad.com.
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