A baseball glove with the words "Wanna play catch?" painted on the palm


​The New Year is a time “New.”  But New is not always so nice.  New means change and change means challenge.  New might not be fun for you.

New represents the unknown—from a child’s first day of school to a Dad bringing home his baby for the first time.  The unknown stirs questions of who we are and how we feel: Will I be liked?  Will I know what I am doing?  Will I be any good?  

These questions are just a few when it comes to the New.  There are girls who do not want to go bowling on a date because they don’t want to be laughed at.  There are boys who do not want to go skiing for fear of falling down.  The New does not always seem so good for you.  

There is a temptation to fight the fear of the New with a Herculean bravado.  There is a saying that   “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”  This is not always true.  Throwing children off the high dive is not the best way to overcome a fear of heights.

New can be good for you.  But new isn’t easy—not for me, not for you, and not for our children.  So here are some encouragements for Good Dads helping their children find the good in the New:

  • Set aside some time to talk about the New.  The answer may be the same in the end, but don’t be too quick to get there.  Go out for lunch.  Snuggle up on the bed.
  • Listen.  Really listen.  Don’t say, “You don’t need to be afraid.”  Acknowledge feelings.  “Wow.  I can see this is bothering you.  This would be hard for me, too.”
  • Empathize.  Remember a time you were afraid of the New, too.  You might ask for permission, “May I share a story with you?”  But do not presume the feelings or the outcome is the same.  Your only goal is to say, “I have been afraid, too.”
  • Choose your battles.  Your child does have to go to school.  But your child does not have to play soccer, stay in the band, go out for cheerleading, or go on a date.  Good Dads are gracious Dads, patient Dads, and accepting Dads.
  • Be proud.  When your child does something New tell him, “I am really proud of you for trying something New.  Tell me, now do you feel?”    

​The New is not always easy—not for me or for you.  I don’t always feel I am a Good Dad or good at other things.  It doesn’t help me when people say, “You shouldn’t feel that way.”  It does help when people say, “What can I do to help?” and “I am proud of you.”

You are a Good Dad and what you do isn’t easy. Every day is new for you.  I am proud of you.  

About Author


Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at jsippy@rlcmail.org