Monday mornings are usually basketball pick up games for me, several pastors, campus ministers and those in full time ministry like LA, Patrick, Owie, Roel, etc. Others who are professional students like Josh join us too. (peace Josh!)

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that I get to bring Ryan, my 8 year old, with me.  That can be considered as his P.E. class (haha).

While he was practicing his shots, I was sitting by the sidelines watching him.

I, then, noticed a pattern.  After he takes a shot, whether he makes it or not, he looks at me to check my reaction.

I usually give him a thumbs up sign or a nod to acknowledge his efforts – whether he makes the shot or not.

Dads, our kids look to us for a reaction, response or approval which is why it is critical to stay close and stay positive.

Giving a thumbs up sign not just because of achievement but primarily for effort is well worth it.

Just a reminder to all the dads out there, our kids are watching.  And how we respond can either build or break their confidence.

Ryan had a baseball game last Saturday.

On the third inning, right before going back to the field coming from the dugout, he comes to me and asks me a question.

“Dad, am I doing well?  Am I doing well?”

It’s interesting how kids come up to their parents to get encouragement as a young camel goes to a pool of water after a long journey.

They want it, need it and look for it.

Most especially from dads.

If I may address the dads out there for a moment.  Take extra time encouraging your kids – especially your girls.

You’ve heard it said that if they don’t get that from you, they’ll try to get it from other guys outside your home.  That’s true.

A few random thoughts on encouraging your kids.

1. Catch them doing right more than doing wrong.

In other words, watch out for moments when they’re doing well and then praise them for it.  It is natural to see the tiny black spot on a big wide white wall.  Instead of noticing the big white wall, we tend to notice the tiny spot.  Catch them doing right.

2. Be generous.

Affirm as often as you can.  You’d rather be generous with your words of affirmation.  Words are like seeds.  You’ll never know which ones will take root and bear fruit.

3. Be sincere.

Use a variety of words.  Kids know when you’re just being ‘nice’ because you are their parents.   Mean it and let it come from the heart.

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. (Proverbs 18:21, NLT)