Every boy grows up leaning into the words of his father.
Sometimes as men, we do not fully understand how impactful our words and actions are to the sons we bring into the world. Boys learn basically in two critical ways: by watching their father’s actions and by listening to his words. Here are a few of the greatest words a father can say to his son.
I am proud of you.
Who doesn’t like to hear these words? They need to be genuine and heartfelt to have true meaning, but every son does something that will make his father proud. Have you told your son that you are proud of him lately?
You are really good at _______________.
Even the biggest, clumsiest, nerdiest kid on the planet is good at something. Often we try to fit our sons into the box that we lived in as a kid. If you were great at sports, we tend to push our sons into athletic endeavors. If a sport is not their area in which to excel, they are going to feel like a whale with no tale. They will flounder and struggle and become completely frustrated.
On the other hand, have you noticed how your son lights up when you notice him doing something well? If you do not know what they are good at, help them find something and then praise him when he succeeds.
You were created for something special.
Provide your son with a vision and curiosity for the future. It is easy with our busy schedules to wait until they become teenagers before we start thinking about their futures. Start early and encourage them to think about what they want to become.
I love your mother more than any other woman on the planet.
Every father wants their sons to become great husbands. As their father, you demonstrate this with your actions and your words towards your wife, their mother. By telling your son that you love your wife on a regular basis, your son will see that it is important to you that you have a loving relationship with the most important woman in your life. Your son will want to do the same when he finds his future wife.
Let me tell you about the birds and the bees.
As a father, these are probably the most reluctant words that will ever come out of our mouth. They are also some of the most important words that will come out of our mouths. By the way, this is not a one-time conversation. With today’s sexualized culture and the Internet, you need to start this conversation much earlier than you are probably thinking.
Covenant Eyes, an Internet filtering company, reports that children’s average age of first exposure to Internet pornography is 11. Your son probably already knows more than you think at this age. These conversations should be age appropriate and frequent up until marriage. Just because you never had the talk, does not get you off the hook with your son.
I messed up.
Since I do not know any perfect fathers, I am going to assume that you mess up occasionally too. We all make mistakes. If your son is involved with or witnesses one of your mistakes, make sure you sit him down and tell him that you screwed up. Be sure to also let him know what you learned from your mistake. This is a valuable lesson about honesty and integrity with yourself and others. This will teach him that he doesn’t have to be perfect to be a great dad.
I am sorry.
These are three of the most powerful words that can come from a father’s lips. When you hurt your son in some way, or you make a mistake that affects him, be sure that he hears you apologize.
I remember as a young boy receiving quite a spanking for something that I had not done. I also remember that my father later came to me and apologized and said he was sorry. It almost erased the feeling of my sore behind. It did erase the hurt in my soul knowing that I had done nothing wrong. It removed my anger and confusion and taught me that it is important to apologize when we hurt someone.