The World’s Strongest Man is not a competition. If you are a Dad, you have already won the title!
Stu Weber asks a piercing question in his book, Tender Warrior:
“What is the most powerful word in the English language?” His answer is indisputable, “How about the word ‘Dad?’ Just walk through what you know about life. When it comes to power in a younster’s world, I’ll put my money on the word ‘Dad.’ As words go, hope, vision and sacrifice don’t mean a whole lot to little ones, but the power of the word ‘Dad’ reaches far beyond a youngster’s childhood. In fact, it spans generations. There are two ways to recognize power. One is to see it at work. The other is to measure what happens when it is gone. Either way, the word ‘Dad’ is pretty potent. Present or absent, positive of negative, the power of the father is incredible.”
Remembering Your Dad
Every man reading this just relived a few flashbacks from his boyhood. You remember exactly what happened. You were shaped by the words said. You know the powerful influence your Dad has had on your life. He was your hero. For some, this lasted only for a very short time, or in your fantasy and you’ve missed something important. For others, he is still the most powerful influencer in your life.
No other man; no other position; no other title carries the throw weight of the father, even if he wasn’t there for you. Just get men around a campfire and start sharing about their father’s influence, and every man will go to a deep inward place; a place of gratitude or sadness, joy or anger, laughter or tears.
There is no neutrality when a man remembers his father.
Using Your Influence for Good
So, Dad, knowing this truth from experience, you can determine to use your incredible influence in your children’s lives for the good. As the strongest man in their lives, you can string them on your bow, aim them in the right direction, and launch them like arrows into a world that desperately needs boys and girls who are fathered with intentionality.
It all comes down to practicing a simple and repetitive discipline: The Blessing.
The Importance of Blessing Your Children
The power of the father’s blessing is seen both positively and negatively in the story of Esau and Jacob. They both craved their father Isaac’s blessing, but Jacob received it and Esau did not. There were some material and leadership perks associated with this Old Testament form of blessing. There was also the emotional, fatherly affirmation, which, when Esau didn’t receive it, made him cry with anguish:
Have you but one blessing, my father?
Bless me, even me also, O my father. Genesis 27:38
He went away weeping, but also bitter and vengeful. I think we can draw a direct line from this ancient incident to the instruction of Paul:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger. Ephesians 6:4
There is an anger that seethes in the unaffirmed, uncoached, unblessed heart of a child. The Spirit of Christ in a godly father can create a completely different trajectory by intentionally infusing blessing.
How to Bless Your Children
Blessing your children is not complex. The fact that you have read this far is an indication that you already have the motivation. And most likely you already practice many of these elements. But, let’s line them up to underscore their collective power. (For more on blessing your children, read The Blessing by John Trent, Gary Smalley, et al.)
Everyone feels closer, more cared for, and loved when they are touched appropriately. For your kids, it’s obvious. When they are small, pick them up. Hold them. Hug and cuddle them. Press your face next to theirs. As they grow, revise your means of touching, but don’t stop. Psychologists tell us that touching your boys is just as meaningful as physical touch for girls. It teaches both genders what it means to be safely and lovingly touched by a man. Nothing beats close proximity as the best context for communication.
A Spoken Message
Just being present isn’t enough. Even your hard work of providing for your family is not enough. They need to hear actual words from you. Here are three golden phrases you can never say too often:
I love you
I’m proud of you
Ask any group of men or women what they wish they would have heard from their father, and these three phrases will always pour out from hungry hearts.
Attach High Value
Take a step back and look at the life of your child, adolescent, or young adult. What has he or she brought into your life that wouldn’t have been there without them?
What admirable qualities do you see in their effort, their ability to make friends, their interests, or their character?
The classic statement by Ken Blanchard still holds true:
“Catch them doing something right and tell them about it.”
Maybe you need to express gratitude to your child for their obedience or something they did to serve you. But, this is not so much about performance, grades, or skill.
It is more about telling your child how much joy and value they bring to your relationship.
Picture a Special Future
Childhood is a sequence of firsts. First time in the pool. First ride on the bus. First report card, team try-out, piano lesson, final exam, term paper, prom date.
A father’s blessing can instill courage and confidence. It's not because you can take away the risk but more about how you can help your child or young adult see past the immediate challenge and into a rewarding future. Remind them of what you see in them. Tell a story of your own past that can encourage this next big step they are facing.
Blessings Aren't Just For Special Occasions
I have been blessed with two daughters. As they grew up we created some special times to specifically bless them. Father’s Day was often the time for this.
I would hold each one separately in my lap, and bless them in the presence of the family. We practiced this when their grandfathers were present, asking them to bless their granddaughters. It wasn’t just once, or when they were little. We did this all through their years in our home.
Blessings don't always have to be a special occasion. In fact, you can bless your children with all these elements on a situational basis: whenever the occasion requires it. Make it the native language of your home. Bathe your children in the powerful blessing words of their father. This is not the meaningless gushing of “atta-boys” or compliments. It’s not the empty flattery of participation trophies.
Blessing is the deliberate investment of practical guidance and love that will stay lodged in the memory and character of your child forever.
Dad, YOU are Irreplaceable
So, strong man: Dad. Take advantage of your position.
No elected official can come close to your power and influence. No teacher will be remembered like your life lessons. No coach can shape a life like your words.
Be the blessing you were designed to be! And watch God’s blessing permeate your family.