Maybe your children call the man who made a difference in their lives dad, pops, father, papa, uncle, coach or by his first name. There are many names for fathers and the father figures in our lives. No matter what the name, the impact is the same – they cared. They made a difference. These men have a unique superpower that helped our children, blessed them. And we want to celebrate and encourage these good men. Might dad appreciate some appreciation?

My own father, even though divorced from my mother, faithfully picked me up every other weekend to spend time with me. I still remember the drives in our brown Bronco, through sun, sleet or snow. Even though he didn’t play much, his steadfast character was an anchor my whole life.

In contrast, my husband played every game known to man. Our little family would often play games late into the night – laughing deliriously both from lack of sleep and enjoyment. And he was also the human jungle gym for our kids and the church kids. Each one would see if he could lift them, hang off of his legs or climb his back successfully. And I know several more good dads, family members and mentors who write meaningful notes, play video games, read books or ride bikes and so much more – blessing those in their lives. So, how do we give back to these men? How do we appreciate dad?

Ways to appreciate Dad’s special superpowers

There is no right way, but a place to start is thinking about how they have made an impact. One might not even realize all the ways Dad or other father figures have blessed their lives. So, check out the following lists for ideas to get you started. Use anything that Dad would appreciate. Make sure to be specific. What do they do, even if imperfectly, that you want to acknowledge and encourage? This is so much more than a tie or a quickly bought card. Encourage Dad by purposefully saying how he is doing a good job!

Observation skills

Does he make an effort to go to events? Does uncle or coach call out the skills or talents that are growing in your kid? Or maybe he drives around all the friends, so he can get to know the group. He is great at observation! Ways to encourage an observant father figure are:

  • Create a montage video of him and all the things you have done together.
  • Learn his history and put it together on a slide show.
  • Find out his favourite game or event growing up and do that together.
  • Create a treasure hunt or use walkie talkies to help him find a card, gift or favourite food.
  • Spend all day celebrating him with favourite food and activities.

Building skills

Dads can build both physically and verbally. Everyone wants to be noticed, especially by Dad. Dr. Meeker shares how her dad told his friends she would be a doctor long before she ever accomplished her doctorate. His faith gave her strength to continue when she felt like quitting. Encourage a building man through:

  • Building something together. For example, repair a car engine, build a really cool pen or work on a model together.
  • Write down all the great things you appreciate about him – Twenty-five things I love about dad . . . Or make an acrostic and use the words like super, excellent, awesome etc.
  • Does he like a particular food? See if you can build the best sandwich, nachos or ice cream sundae together. How many toppings can fit on it before falling?
  • Invent stories about him with random words like hero, cheese, maple tree, galaxy and road runner, just for laughs. (Make sure and share the limited list of words so he doesn’t think you have lost your mind.)
  • Build something that he would use in his hobby, such as fishing lures or a miniature greenhouse.

Listening skills

Is he a good listener? Does he take the late-night drives where the teen shares all their concerns? Or does he make a point to ask questions? Does he ignore the crazy hormones as the words spill out looking for the meaning rather than emotion? Appreciate a listening father with the following:

  • Make a play list of dad’s favourite tunes. Enjoy it together.
  • Enjoy a picnic together.
  • Create a drive-in movie experience in the garage or backyard and show his favourite film.
  • Write down the best advice and/or the best jokes he has told. Frame them and post on social media for all to enjoy.
  • Listen to his favourite book on audio together.

Teaching skills

Does Dad make a point to teach? Does he share how-tos on sports, cooking, gardening or building? Maybe he is the one who taught you chess or got you through science class. Show Dad the help is appreciated.

  • Learn something new together – a foreign language, an outlandish sport like hobbyhorsing or a new craft like leather tooling.
  • Create a mystery for him to solve, or messages he has to decode with the end result being a note on how much you appreciate him.
  • Make a map and a timeline of landmarks, museums or parks to see together.
  • Play old-fashioned video games together like Donkey Kong or Pong.
  • Try flying drone battles. They have Star Wars versions.

Strength skills

Each dad brings lots of strengths they can share with their kids. Dads wrestling with their children, going on bike rides, playing sports or working out with their kids provide relational as well as physical benefits. And don’t forget mental powers are a strength too. Appreciate Dad’s strengths though some of these ideas:

  • Create a spa experience for him at home. Foot massage and neck rubs are good choices.
  • Would he enjoy something physical like going to the batting cages or going hiking?
  • Water is usually good too. Go to the pool, local waterslide or fishing at the lake together.
  • Go camping as a family.
  • Break out the mind puzzles, jigsaw puzzles or math problems. Solve them together or enjoy seeing who can solve their puzzle first.

There are a lot of ways that Dad and father figures make a difference in the whole family’s lives. Dads are great! Hopefully, these ideas will help or spark ideas on ways to appreciate him. Have fun and choose something that is meaningful to him. Most importantly, let Dad know what a blessing he is! He will appreciate being appreciated.

Related resources:

Find ideas for celebrating Dad on Father's Day on this page of family traditions.

© 2020 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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