How a Father’s Approval Impacts a Child

In this Family Ministry Conversation video, discover how the father's nod can raise confidence and love in children.
3 min read

Welcome to Family Ministry Conversations. Today’s topic is the father’s nod. I really want to talk to those of you who work with dads or who are dads.

One of the very important things in a child’s life is to receive the father’s nod. It’s that moment when a father passes on his confidence and his unconditional love to one of his children. It’s that moment when he says, “You have what it takes to be a young man or woman in this world. I believe in you.”

Our son lives every day knowing that his father loves him and believes in him.

My Family’s Story

In my own family, neither my husband nor my father ever received the father’s nod from their biological fathers. And it was a spiritual father’s nod when they met Jesus and learned of their heavenly Father’s love for them. But I’ve watched both of them struggle in not having that physical father’s nod or that affirmation from their dads. So, this is a gift, and it’s so important for dads to learn how to give it and why to give it.

I think to a time in my son’s life when he was about 16 years old. We were on a sailboat, and his girlfriend at the time was with us. It was just my husband and me and the two of them, and we got into some rough waters.

When we got into the rough waters, the wind was blowing so fiercely that both of our sails failed. They coiled up onto the bow of the ship on their mast, and we could not get them untangled.

Being used to raising my children with my husband, I was ready to be called into action. But, instead, my husband called our 16-year-old son to help. So, there I sat watching my son at the bow with waves bursting over the bow splashing him as he tried to un-fail the sales. His hands were torn up and even bleeding as he pulled with all his might to get those sails undone. And he did.

toddler and dad walking towards mother
Image Credit: MoMo Productions/Stone/Getty Images

A Father’s Approval

We all rejoiced, and we got back to the harbor safely. And later that week, I was recounting the story to a male friend of mine. I said, “Can you imagine how he felt having his girlfriend watch him do that?”

My male friend looked at me very wisely and said, “No, not his girlfriend but his father.”

To have been able to be called to action to save our lives by his father who entrusted that to him. And the affirmation he received after, when my husband looked at him and said, “Well done, son.”

It’s Not Necessarily One Moment

And that’s just one of the many moments when my husband, who didn’t receive it from his father, was able to pass that father’s nod on to my son—our son. And our son lives every day knowing that his father loves him and believes in him.

There’s a moment sometimes. But sometimes, it’s just the moments where fathers speak confidence and love into their children. So, if you’re a father, or if you work with fathers in any capacity, I encourage you to start practicing the father’s nod.

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Ready to help parents create an environment for spiritual growth?

Get ready to help families with their most important task, in our guide from Ministry Spark: 7 Ways to Encourage Today’s Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home.
Free Guide
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Ready to help parents create an environment for spiritual growth?

Get ready to help families with their most important task, in our guide from Ministry Spark: 7 Ways to Encourage Today’s Parents as Spiritual Influencers at Home.
Free Guide
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  Updated on June 14, 2021

About the Author

  • Dr. Michelle Anthony is the Pastor of Children and Parents at New Life Church. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting, The Big God Story, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, and 7 Family Ministry Essentials. Michelle has over 25 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible and Theology from Talbot School of Theology and Southern Seminary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, and being at the beach while drinking a strong cup of coffee.

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

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