Build the right hands. Act in ways that will open your kids up to learn the lessons they need to learn from you and grow in wisdom. Coach your kids to respond to challenging situations in healthy ways and develop the skills they need to learn. Ask God to help you manage your anger well, so it won’t undermine all the positive ways you relate to your children and break your relationships with them. Teach your kids to use their creativity to think of possible solutions to the problems they encounter. Pray together with them about challenging situations, asking God to give them the wisdom they need to respond to each situation well. Ask God to give you the wisdom you need as a dad to discipline your children with the right consequences administered with love and respect, so your kids can learn the right lessons in the right ways.

Build the right feet. Lead your kids along the path that God has laid out for them and protect them from the dangers that evil has laid ahead of them. Ask God to help you be the best role model you can be for your kids, showing them how to live faithfully in all ways, including how to spend time and money, how to treat other people, and how to make a relationship with God life’s top priority. Guide your kids to choose close friends who share their same values, and urge them to encourage each other to remain true to those values and keep developing a stronger faith. But also urge your kids to reach out to positively impact kids outside their inner circle who don’t yet share their values but need loving friends to help them grow closer to God. Set appropriate boundaries to protect your kids from spending too much time on entertainment and neglecting more important activities, and from consuming media content that may harm them (such as sex and violence). But rather than trying to shelter your kids from media, teach them to think critically about media, so they can learn a critical skill for adulthood: how to discern whether or not the media’s messages reflect biblical truth.

Adapted from Project Dad: The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide for Becoming a Great Father, copyright 2011 by Todd Cartmell. Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich.,

Todd Cartmell is a licensed clinical psychologist and a father of two. He is in full-time private practice in Wheaton, Illinois, where he works exclusively with children, adolescents, and families. He conducts parenting workshops across the country and is the author of Respectful Kids. You can visit Todd's website at

Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor.  You can visit her website at: