father son relationship

4 Gifts You Need to Give Your Son Before He Becomes a Man

My wife Kristen and I have the great privilege and responsibility of raising four boys (ages 8-12). All four will live under our roof for at least five more years. Some days those five years will feel like an eternity, but I know, in the end, it will seem like they flew by in the blink of an eye.

When I think about the fact that I have less than six years with our twins, I want to make the most of the time we have together. I want to be intentional in how we spend that time and as a loving dad, I want to use that time to strengthen our father-son relationship. Here are four specific gifts from their dad I will give them.

1. A written record of how much I love them.

I often tell them that they’re loved by their mom and dad. I hope I show I love them by my actions. But there are many different options you can choose on how to give your kids a written reminder of your love. [Tweet This] Maybe you can record some thoughts in a journal or on the inside cover of some books you’ve read together. The form you choose doesn’t matter. The function does.

If you’re a man of faith, here are a couple of things I do that you might want to try. I write them a letter every year on their birthday where I recap the year, share some highs and lows, and some things I’ve prayed for them in the past year. I also have a wide-margin bible for each of my sons where I record prayers for them in the margin.

2. The knowledge that they can come to me about anything and at any time.

I want my boys to know when they grow up that their dad still provides a safe place for them. This means that when they face challenges in school, work, relationships, marriage, and parenting that they can come to me and share. I want to be someone who doesn’t have to be the first to speak and fix them, but instead, will be someone who tries to listen and understand.

When they face significant decisions in life, opportunities in their career, challenges in their home life, or achievements to celebrate, I hope they’ll see me as one of the first people they’ll share with or seek counsel from.

3. Memories of great shared experiences

When my boys leave the home, I want them to be able to look back at 18 years filled with fun, unique shared experiences with their dad. I want them to have memories of both small, day-to-day moments and big, impact-producing experiences.

I hope they remember that we spent both quality time and quantity time together. That’s why I make sure to plan times when we do puzzles and play games, shoot hoops in the driveway, take family vacations, and spend time away together on father-son weekends.

4. A right understanding of how to care for and value women.

I hope my boys leave our home with a right view of women. All women are to be valued and respected. We don’t use them for our selfish pleasure or self-validation. This starts with me. I better model this well by the ways I treat my wife and other women.

The time is limited and the opportunity is great. Let’s make the most of the time we have with our children so that they can leave our homes someday with the right gifts from their dad.

Sound Off

What gifts do you want to make sure your son receives before he becomes a man?

Scott Kedersha

Scott Kedersha is the Director of Premarital and Newly Married Ministries at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He’s married to Kristen, has four boys and is passionate about church, college football (Go Wake!), marriage, family, and reading.

  • Anthony Cravaritis

    I agree with this article and have started Legacy River Trips (a father-son rite of passage weekend) in Central FL because I have seen so many dads in my counseling practice that have not gotten a vision of manhood. Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis is a must read if you have boys! Check us out! http://www.LegacyRiverTrips.com

    • Thanks for sharing, @anthonycravaritis:disqus! Yes – agreed on Lewis’ book – excellent resource.

  • Doug Keating

    Good article. I am divorced and do not get the chance to see my two sons very often. I decided to start a blog as a way to pass along my thoughts and lessons learned to them based on the many mistakes I have made in this world. Here is a link to the blog in case anyone is interested in doing something similar for their children: http://www.lettertosons.com/

    • Thanks for sharing, Doug. I definitely will check this out. Love this idea – I think mine would be many volumes long of mistakes I could share!

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you would like to do as a family in the next year?”

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