How to Honor Your Father In 3 Steps

In today’s world, the concept of “honor” seems like it’s lost its true meaning. We talk about it a lot, but do we know what it means, especially when it comes to honoring the people who are still here with us?

While preparing for this blog, I researched how different cultures honor their loved ones. Though I found some interesting traditions, most of the material was about honoring the dead, not the living.

In fact, there’s much research on how our ancestors, even after they’ve passed away, bring luck and prosperity, but when it comes to how much honoring those same ancestors when they are alive brings powerful promises and benefits, the data is lacking.

Think about it: We meticulously plan, ponder, and pick our words for funerals, ensuring every phrase is perfect. But when our loved ones are alive, we often speak without much thought. Some cultures leave money and gifts on tombstones to bring luck, but did those ancestors get the same kind of gifts while they were living? Many traditions involve huge celebrations for those who died long ago, but what about celebrating the living with matching pomp and pageantry?

I love the fact that the Bible has more to say about honoring the living than the dead and shows us the power and promise that come from it. Ephesians 6:2-3 says, “Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” This Father’s Day, I want to share with you three levels of honor so you can reap these benefits that comes from honouring your parents: “…that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”


The first level of honoring your father is to affirm him. When you bring affirmation to someone, you are drawing attention to their strengths, talents, abilities, or their appearance. In his best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman talks about some practical ways we can affirm loved ones, including our dads, such as recognizing achievements, positive affirmations in public, supporting their goals and dreams, and even (for the introverted dads) letters of affirmation.

That being said, affirmations, while praiseworthy, are the lowest form of honor and a starting point in learning to honor fathers. Why is it the lowest? Because affirmation comes from the mind as opposed to the heart. That is why Jacob could affirm the blessing and authority on his father Isaac while deceiving him (Genesis 27). Though affirmation is good, it is merely the starting block of honour.


The second level of honor is appreciation. While affirmation comes from the mind, appreciation comes from the heart. When you appreciate your father, you are not just affirming the qualities in his life; you are valuing those qualities in him.

In Exodus 18, Moses was struggling to manage the rigorous demand that came from leading a nation with millions of people in it when his father-in-law, Jethro, came to him with a proposal: “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.”

What did Moses do? Exodus 18:24 (ESV) says, “So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.” Moses did not just affirm the leadership of Jethro; he took his advice and applied it, showing appreciation for him and his gift of leadership. There are fewer things sweeter to a father than advice heard, received, and applied!


We have all seen the pictures of young toddler boys with faces full of shaving cream trying to shave “like daddy does” or young toddler girls painting lipstick on their faces so they can look “as beautiful as mommy.” What are they doing? They are admiring their parents. The third and highest level you can show to your dad is admiration. Admiration says, “I value you so much, I want to be like you.”

When God appeared to Solomon in Gibeon, we are all familiar with the question He posed to him: “Ask what I shall give you” (1 Kings 3:5). Of course, we know that Solomon chose wisdom, but do we know why? 1 Kings 3:6-9 tells us that his motivation was the way he saw his father, King David, lead. He not only appreciated his father, he admired him, and it was that admiration that motivated him to ask God for wisdom to rule like his father.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, let’s reintroduce this concept of honor to the world by affirming, appreciating, and admiring our fathers.