af·fir·ma·tion  ( af r-m sh n)

n. 1. The act of affirming or the state of being affirmed; assertion.2. Something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgment.3. Law A solemn declaration given in place of a sworn statement by a person who conscientiously objects to taking an oath. 

Affirmation, when that word came to mind, I thought I knew all about it.  It is a word we don’t use often but when we do, it is used in very powerful or serious situations.  By the very sound of it your attention is piqued and you listen carefully for what follows.

As I began to research the nature of this word, I began to realize the extent of my understanding was only a small part of its application in our lives.

Some synonyms to affirmation include;

Avouchment; to declare the provable truth or validity of; or to confess.

Avowal; A frank admission or acknowledgment.

Assertion; Something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof.

Statement; The act of stating or declaring. 

A very strong word indeed, perhaps this is why it is used so sparingly in our everyday language.  After all, “something declared to be true”… how many things in life can you honestly declare as emphatically true? 

 All the same, as fathers we must learn to affirm our children.  Our own fathers, for all practical purposes, did not practice affirmation of their children any more than we do with our children.  A father that really understands true affirmation is extremely hard to find.  There are many of us who think we understand but in true application fall short.  Felix Adler, an American educator and the founder of the Ethical Movement is quoted as saying; “A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered.” 

I have always struggled with the concept of affirmation myself.  As the son of a father who spoke few words, it was often hard to know where you really stood.  Especially since I was one of those ADHD kids before anyone knew there was an ADHD or an ADD for that matter.  Affirmation is one of those things that are hard to remember to do.  If we are asked about our children, or our wife, we will usually say they are fine.  We might even go as far as to say we can’t live without them.  But it becomes much harder when we are talking to them.  We think we don’t have to say it, they already know it, even though we have never told them.  We must think they get it through some kind of Vulcan mind meld.  

“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible–the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.”
— Virginia Satir

Fathers, we are the head of our house.  As such we are held to a higher standard.  Fathers must instinctively know how to build that “nurturing family”.  We must recognize the differences in individuals, we must be able to forgive mistakes and tolerate ineptitude.  We must communicate more than less.  When in doubt, we must communicate.  Be flexible in our assessments and in our rule making.  Teach discipline by our example.  Most of all, affirm our children.  They need it and should expect it.  If our heavenly Father can tolerate the things we have done and still affirm us then we can do the same with our children.   

En servicio como padre



2 Responses to “Affirmation”

  1. 1 Charles Arcario June 19, 2007 at 12:38 PM


    Great, great, great!

    It is so easy for us to look into our Dad hearts and know that we love our children unconditionally. So much so that we often hear Dads say that they would do “anything” for them. The crazy part is that most of the time they are not asking for “anything”, they are simply looking for that “avowal” you speak of. They don’t yearn for anything more than they do for acceptance. We should let them know how we feel about them as often as we can.


    Everything should be so easy…


  2. 2 Charles Arcario June 19, 2007 at 12:43 PM


    Dave, I would like to tell YOU that I am enjoying having you as a resource and a friend while I’m trying to do this “Dad thing”. Your incite is refreshing and there is great truth to your messages. I always look forward to your next posts.

    Please accept this as an AFFIRMATION of my appreciation for what you do for others by sharing your thoughts.



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