How To Be A Good Dad | 5 Things Every Son Needs

How To Be A Good Dad unpacks the 5 things every son needs from their father.

Have you ever thought about your funeral? 

Yes, it’s a little grim, but think about it for a minute. Your entire life is condensed into a couple of hours of celebrating your existence on this planet. 

Have you ever thought about your funeral? 

Yes, it’s a little grim, but think about it for a minute. Your entire life is condensed into a couple of hours of celebrating your existence on this planet. 

There will hopefully be tears because that means you were missed. There could be some laughter because that means you left some sort of impact. But here’s the thing, you don’t have any control on what people will say about you. Well, no control at that moment anyway. No, that groundwork needed to be laid years before.

Your legacy lies in the hands of your wife, your children. 

They’re the ones that had a front-row seat to the man that you truly were and will give a few short eulogies to summarize your life. However, the eulogy that everyone will lean in on most is your son’s. He had a particular point of view that’s either clouded by a wound or magnified by the example you set.

This all depends on whether you met all your son’s wants and needs in the short time you had with him. So, what exactly are those things? What answers the basic question of "How to be a good dad?"

Five things that every son needs from their dad:

Time Together

Memories are the markers of life — they give weight to it. It’s playing catch. It’s going for a walk. It’s going on a trip together. It’s fun.

Time spent together that results in lifelong positive memories that steady your son for life are the memories you’re shooting for. Because at the end of the day, he doesn’t want things. He wants you

Life Skills

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This speaks to the adequacy you create in your son. It will all make sense to him down the road.

He’ll know how to tie a tie. He’ll know how to keep to a budget. He’ll know how to clean up after himself. He’ll set an alarm. He’ll know how to share his heart. He won’t feel like a fool in life.

When it comes to teaching your son life skills, it’s important to honor their natural abilities. Don’t try to make an artist an athlete. Help them craft a path to maximize the gifting that they have so when he looks back on his life, and he’ll know, my dad helped me get here. And it feels good.

Direction with Solid Why Answers

Your son doesn’t just want life skills. He wants from dad a philosophy about what life is all about. 

Deuteronomy 6 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

New fathering in the 21st century is more involved. It’s great that dads are around during their son’s life, with games and helping with homework. But Deuteronomy 6 calls for more from us.

It’s not about Little League; it’s about the higher things of life. Your son wants the right answers to what does it mean to be a man? How should a man treat a woman? What happens to you when you die? These are things that our son’s need to keep in their hearts. Make sure you have those answers.

Convictions through Modeling

You will leave in your son what you lived out in your home. It’s not what you say but what you do and the way you react. Your son sees this, and that builds conviction.

1 Thessalonians 2:10 says, “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

When you take convictions plus modeling plus words together, you call that integrity. It’s easy for your son to follow that because he sees the success of that. 

Dad’s Heart

Every son needs to be loved by dad, affirmed by dad, and blessed by dad. Make sure they hear “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” and “you’re good at ____.” It’s incredibly motivating when you say these things. Every son, ever, has needed to hear these things. 

If you think Jesus Christ didn’t need anything from his father, consider this: during critical moments of his life, the heavens opened, and his father did those exact things for him.

Look at The Transfiguration in Matthew 17:5 — a critical moment in Jesus’s life. God said, “This is my beloved son (I love you), whom I’m well pleased (I’m proud of you) and listen to him (because he’s really good). Every son needs that type of blessing from his dad — even the Son of Man.

Imagining your own funeral at the beginning of this article was just a way for you to think about what type of father you wanted to be remembered as.

If a son doesn’t get all these things, then it leaves a huge void in his life. That’s because the glory of sons is their fathers. You may have read this list and reflected on the shortcomings or failures of your own father. 

Week four of the 11-week BetterMan group study talks more about how to deal with shortcomings you’ve felt growing up, specifically with your dad. It helps you process them so you can accept what was and move forward with freedom. Find out more about how to get involved at BetterMan here.

Inspired by a teaching from Robert Lewis.