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Focus part III: Validation

December 4, 2011

I remember years ago when I was a youth leader at a church, there was some issues with the kid’s behavior at  various youth events.  As leaders, we had a meeting and decided to confront the behavior at the next large group event.  When the point of the meeting came to talk about the behavior, I spoke up and talked about some of the frustrations I felt as a leader.  Then there was silence.  No kids responded at first and no other leaders spoke up to at all.  Slowly, but surely the kids started firing on me and still all the other leaders remained silent.  After about 45 minutes of me being on the grill, the meeting thankfully ended.  When the meeting ended several leaders came up to me and said they really believed in what  I was saying.  I ask them why they did not speak up?  They said they did not feel comfortable.  I left the meeting feeling vulnerable, exposed and more than a little silly for speaking up.

What was I looking for?  Simple, validation for my feelings.  To validate means to substantiate and confirm something.  When we share our feelings, try something new or do anything that makes us vulnerable, validation is absolutely critical.  We need to know that we are OK.

So, how much more do our kids need our validation?  A lot.  When our kids step out and try something risky, they are dying for validation from us as dads.  Even if everyone else thought something was bad or crazy, if my dad thought it was great, then everything was OK.  When we validate our kids, we send the message that we love them just the way they are.  We are telling them that “they are awesome” just because of who they are, not because of what they have accomplished.

When we are focused and in the zone as Dads, we validate the uniqueness of our kids.  Validation makes all of us stand up a little taller and believe in ourselves a little more.  Dads, give your kids the gift of security by consistently validating their feelings.  Enjoy the video.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.. Contact him at

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2011 10:30 pm

    Well put!

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