THE POWER OF "FATHERS SAY"
Men are being pulled in so many ways today that distracts them from their primary roles as husbands and fathers. As a result, all too often, our children suffer. Now, more than ever, we need to understand the true role dads play in their children’s lives as our kids face a world we could never have imagined. What fathers SAY can determine their child's WAY. Let's turn everyday into Father's Say by continually blessing and mentoring our children or a child in need. Are you ready? 3 Steps to Change…
The Importance of Engaged Fathers
• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
• 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
What is this thing called “a blessing,” It’s not complex. It’s straightforward. It’s a word of approval or a word of support. It’s a word that bestows confidence, hope, and a sense of well-being. And brings affirmation. It’s a word that allows a young child or a man to move forward boldly, humbly, but with courage and confidence into the future. It’s a word that says, “You are a masterpiece that has been created for a unique purpose in this life.” It’s a word that helps our children, our family, our friends, and those we work with know they are valuable and fashioned for something special in this life.
Some of us have received a blessing, but many of us have not. Several years ago at one of our men’s conferences, we gave a call for men to come forward who felt they had never experienced a blessing from their parents, family, or anyone, particularly from their dads. To our amazement the majority of those present came forward; men from their teens to their 70’s.
When we see people who are excelling in life, regardless of their family’s financial or economic status, we often will find folks who come from a loving, supportive, encouraging family background that continually imparted words of blessing into their lives. They were told they could do anything in life they set their heart and mind to. Studies have shown that many super successful people who even came from very difficult and distressed families and backgrounds made it in life because of the words of blessing spoken to them.
You may be saying, I never had such affirming words spoken to me. In fact, you may have heard nothing but discouraging, demeaning, and angry abusive words directed to you. Whatever the case may be, you can still learn how to be a person who blesses everyone in your life. Many of us didn’t learn till late in life, and you can too! This is what Father’s Say is all about.
Now that you understand the power of the blessing and the importance of being a dad, how do you begin to implement what you have learned? The ideal situation is an actively engaged dad. The other end of the spectrum is a father that has been alienated from his children. Some kids have no father figure at all or someone else stands in the father role. Providing a blessing works in all of these cases, regardless of the situation. It all starts with understanding the importance of your words.
So what do I say?
Your blessing should include:
A greeting. It is important to open up on a positive note and be sure to personalize it with their name.
Talk about the relationship you have with the child.
If the relationship has been less than ideal, ask for forgiveness and promise to do better. But remember if you promise you need to keep your word.
Affirm the child
Talk about what makes the child unique
Your words should let the child know that they have value
Speak about the child’s purpose and their ability to achieve it
End by telling them that you love them and you will be there for them.
Note: If you are recording this for a child you don't know that well or at all, use the time to introduce yourself and speak encouragement into their lives.
You don’t have to be the child’s father to bless a child. In many situations the child’s natural father is unwilling or unable to perform this blessing. What is important is that the child hears words of wisdom, encouragement and affirmation. If at all possible the ideal way to do this is face-to-face. We understand, however, that this may not always be possible. Therefore, here are four additional ways to communicate this blessing.
4 WAYS TO MEMORIALIZE THE BLESSING
1. PROFESSIONAL VIDEO
2. HOME MADE VIDEO
3. AUDIO RECORDING
4. WRITTEN NOTE OR LETTER
If you have children mentoring is taking place daily. How? By them watching your every move! Effective mentoring is designed to understand this truth and making the adjustments necessary to truly bless your kids through an intentional mentoring process.
If you do not have your own children, or are just thinking about mentoring a boy who is in need then the term mentoring can be intimidating. Mainly because they think that they are not equipped to mentor another man or boy. But when you truly boil down mentoring, it’s all about being there for another guy, listening to his challenges, asking him questions and doing your best to point him in the right direction. The following components are key to a successful mentoring and the building of long lasting relationships.
Who should you mentor?
As a rule of thumb you should only mentor those who are the same gender. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, like if you are the child’s mom or dad.
The first meeting or phone call
As you begin the relationship, it’s always best to let the person you are mentoring talk about themselves. Get to know each other and then set a consistent meeting schedule. For example, every Thursday at 7am or the first Monday of the month. The important thing is to block out a specific day and time.
1. Open with accountability questions
Establish a routine for the meetings. We suggest that you begin by asking a set of accountability questions. These questions should be direct and to the point. Your child or mentee will come to the meeting expecting you to ask them these questions. Stress to them the importance of answering honestly! If you need to dig deeper on any one question, make a note, but continue to have them answer all the questions. Then you can go back to any of his answers and explore them further. (See website for examples)
2. Listen intently to their answers
As you listen do not judge or show shock at what they are saying. In all situations extend and reflect grace. This is very important to gain his trust. You may also find yourself wanting to interrupt them while they are speaking. Resist. Let them get everything out and then ask questions.
3. Ask questions, questions and more questions
The art of asking good questions is a powerful tool. On our website is a tool called “The Value of Questions?” This was offered by John Maxwell’s Maximum Impact Club (mileaderonline.com). If you can master this art, you won’t have to come up with very many solutions for them. The questions you ask should make them realize what they should do. Again, this art takes time to refine but this would be the end goal.
4. Provide positive & negative motivations
As you are listening to your mentee answering the questions start thinking about some positive or negative motivations you can provide them. These are dependent on their answers and are framed as a question. For example:
Positive motivation: Ask them, “What do you have to gain in life by avoiding these temptations? Instead of giving into this temptation, what kind of person do you want to become?”
Negative motivation: Ask them, “If you continue doing this over and over, what do you stand to lose in your life?”
5. Recognize when someone is in need of additional help
Remember you are not a counselor…you are a dad or a friend! I repeat you are not a counselor and if someone is:
Talking of suicide or harming themselves
Talking of harming someone else
Becoming aggressive or agitated
You should arrange for them to speak with a professional counselor.
6. Be patient
Patience is truly a virtue. Make sure you extend it to others. Remember some of the young people you will be mentoring might be coming from a bad place and will try to test you to see why you are doing this. Or they just have a bad attitude. Therefore patience is key. Don’t quit! Ultimately, you will become an important or more important person in their lives.
7. Get started today!
Procrastination is a great challenge for many. We see others who need help but we just fail to act. Just think if you were there for another person, young or old, and you’re mentoring helped them to overcome a great challenge in their life or put them on the right path, what’s that worth? Therefore look for an opportunity to serve another and seize the moment!
BUY THE BOOK
In Fathers Say, Joe Battaglia and Joe Pellegrino have brilliantly woven together keen Biblical insights and wise nuggets of life-changing advice from a variety of fathers who have inspired their now well-known daughters and sons on their roads to success. -Rita Cosby, Emmy-winning TV host and best-selling author
Men who have abdicated their role, as fathers are the single greatest problem in society today. But fathers who speak of encouragement and love to their children, mixed in with some common sense, sow into their children’s hearts and minds the necessary ingredients for reaping healthy identities and self-images that propel them toward success in life.