As a man, I understand two things very well; affirmation and respect. I don’t just enjoy hearing or feeling those particular things in my life, I yearn for them. I need to hear words of affirmation from my wife, my father, my friends and my Heavenly Father. Without it I feel directionless and purposeless. I long to be respected as well. Gaining and getting consistent respect from my wife is very important to our marriage. I still long for my fathers approval and respect even though I don’t see him that often anymore. And, of course, I strive to be well respected and wanted by my work.
If it’s so important and desired by me, a full grown man, why wouldn’t it be important for my son to hear?
(An actual image of my son and I leaving Church one day!)
Age Does Not Matter
I’ll be honest, even though affirmation is such a big deal to me, I didn’t think my young son would like it so much. I didn’t even think he would understand what I was telling him. Why? My son was only 1 1/2 years old. That’s right, he could only say a couple of words himself, but he could understand a few words and phrases.
And to my surprise as I would put him down at night, I’d say the following words, “you did a good job today”. He didn’t say thank you and still doesn’t as he nears the age of two, but he always shakes his head yes and looks me straight in the eyes with a full smile.
It didn’t matter that he was under two years old, he understood a fathers affirmation.
What Should This Mean to Fathers?
I realized that day and everyday since that my two year old son is a lot like me. He may not be a man, but he is a Son of God who wants and desires to be loved by a father.
Just as you seek approval and affirmation from your father and Heavenly Father, so our boys (even young boys or toddlers) seek affirmation from us.
This means that no matter what age your son is, you must be more aware of affirming him. Don’t let moments or opportunities pass you by! Don’t be overshadowed by your needs and journey to personal approval that you forget to affirm your son.
Start enforcing and applying affirmation to your son or sons today!
How Can You Affirm?
Take a moment and think about yourself. When do you like or need to be affirmed? When do you like to hear “good job” or “well done”? What does it mean to you? Explore these areas of your heart and apply them to your relationship with your son. Remember, age does not matter!
Here are a few phrases you can start using today:
“You did a great job today.”
“Thank you for your help.”
“Thank you for being a good boy for Mommy.”
“I appreciate your help in cleaning up.”
“You are a good boy.”
“I love you son!”
When was the last time you affirmed your son?
Strive to be a better father this year and seek to affirm your son or sons everyday! What is one way you affirm your son or sons?