Give Your Kids Strong Roots - How to Be a Great Dad

Give Your Kids Strong Roots

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:17-18, NIV)

Giving your children roots requires you to satisfy a broad spectrum of needs for raising healthy, secure, self-confident children. Dozens of theories and thousands of books address this, but one way to simplify what children need is captured in a model often used by psychologists called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.a

The model posits that the needs at the bottom of the hierarchy (like food, shelter, and safety) must be satisfied before someone has the ability and freedom to focus on the higher-level needs (like self-esteem or reaching their full potential).

Self actualization: achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities. (Self-fulfillment needs.) Esteem needs: prestige and feeling of accomplishment. Belongingness and love needs: intimate relationship, friends. (Psychological needs.) Safety needs: security, safety. Physiological needs: food, water, warmth, rest. (Basic needs.)

As you can see, your children’s needs range from very basic to profound. Yes, providing roots means putting a roof over their heads and food on the table. But providing roots also means giving your children the security of a safe, predictable, and stable home environment.

It means creating a space where your children feel protected, accepted, and loved unconditionally. They can count on you to give reasonable responses and to be predictable.

What a blessing it is, for example, that if your child faces bullies at school, he can still look forward to coming home to a stable environment. The best antidote to everything from peer pressure to insecurity is a caring, involved parent.

Since Maslow’s hierarchy doesn’t expressly include spiritual needs, you should add a category for “spiritual development” to your own list of the roots you want to nurture.

Reflection Exercise:

  • Did you grow up feeling like you had strong roots?
  • In general, do you think you have provided your children with strong roots?

    __ never

    __ rarely

    __ sometimes

    __ usually

    __ always

  • What is one action you can take to make your children feel more healthy, secure, and self-confident?

a [1] Saul McLeod, “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” Simply Psychology, updated March 21, 2023,

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