When thinking about what I could give a 20 year old looking for a spiritual father figure 5 things very quickly came to mind. They aptly relate to family life (no surprise) and are what I would consider the highest needs of your natural kids but also those you are discipling (who might be 10 or more years younger than you).
Physical touch is highly reassuring & provides security. It can be awkward for some dads when your child comes to a certain age. Maybe because you were never hugged… but do it and you find it reciprocated ie. kids need it, kids love it.
It has been shown that hugs nurture trust and safety, positive self-esteem, they boost serotonin levels (the happiness factor), oxytocin levels (healing feelings of isolation) and the immune system.
Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, has a saying: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
2. HUGE BELIEF
A father needs to be THE BIGGEST believer in a child’s future, painting it big for them and speaking them up. This develops healthy self-esteem.
Human instinct wants to play everything down, we think holding back praise will help manage ego, but instead we end up seeking false attention, self-praise, pride.
Give praise, boost their future possibilities, show them dad believes in them. You’re not blind to their mistakes or promote them beyond their capabilities. But you boost their self-esteem.
God uses language about us like :
“apple of my eye” “I made you wonderfully & without mistake” “plans to prosper you, give you hope and future”
Can you hear this stuff enough? Never! What a great thing for child to know.
God says to Ezekiel “what do you see?” Ezekiel replies “a pile of old bones dad”, “no it’s a huge army son”, “could these bones become a army for you”, “I don’t know dad”, “well I’m telling you they can & that you have what it takes to make it so” … “begin to prophecy” … teach your children to speak over their future. “What sort of day are you going have today?” “an awesome day dad”
You can be a life shaper for your children and those you are leading today.
Watch this space for 3 more critical things kids need…
(Hear the audio 15 June)