The Journey of the Intentional Father


As we continue unpacking the art and science of fatherhood we discover that being a dad is a grand adventure.  From the tender years of infancy through the tough years of adolescence every stage of raising children is filled with opportunities that shouldn’t be missed!

Investing in the Next Generation

To succeed as an intentional father you must team up with your wife to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to ensure that your children have a strong foundation for succeeding in this life and the life to come. Here’s my favorite command and promise for us dads.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Investing in Young Dads

If you are an older man, and your kids are grown up, you might consider forwarding this message to a younger man who is struggling alone to be an intentional father. Consider mentoring a younger man. You can be the source of encouragement and guidance that he desperately needs.

Remember, no man, no dad, should struggle alone so reach out!

I am glad that you are on the journey to becoming a more intentional dad.  If you missed some opportunities when your kids were younger it’s never to late to begin!

Here’s to Strengthening Dads,

Marty Miller

Blueprint for Men, Founder | President

The Journey of the Intentional Father

Fatherhood is one of the most challenging and rewarding adventures of a lifetime.  It’s a journey that only ends when your life ends.  Jesus talked about putting your hand to the plow and not looking back when referring to our commitment and devotion to follow him…

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:62

By being an intentional dad you have truly put your hand to the plow.  Fatherhood is at the top of all your commitments and requires you to have exceptionally thick skin and ultramarathon endurance.  Jesus parable about the Prodigal Son illustrates the love and forgiveness of the ultimate father… our Heavenly Father.

The 6 Stages of Fatherhood

Ken Canfield, Ph.D., describes the journey of fatherhood in his article, “Your Fathering Journey is 6 Stages”, as being composed of 6 distinctive stages.

I highly recommend that you take some time to read the article here but for the sake of expediency I’ll give you practical things you should do at every stage.

Action Points at Every Stage

1.  Attachment/Infants: Start a new habit or take over a parenting routine that will make life easier for your baby’s mom.

2.  Idealism/Preschoolers:  Make reading with your child a daily activity. Do what you can to make it fun!

3.  Understanding/School-age Kids:  Slip a note in your child’s backpack to encourage her in the school subject that’s most challenging.

4.  Enlightenment/Teenagers:  Let your child choose an activity to do together: a father-daughter date, bicycling, working on the car, golf or disc golf, etc. Be flexible and do it on her or her schedule.

5.  Reflection/Young Adults:  Engage your child in a discussion about something important to her. Set your mind to listening carefully and respecting her point of view, even if it goes against your approach.

6.  Generativity/Grandkids:  As more grandkids are added to the clan, make a point to spend one-on-one time with each of grandchild.

Intentional Fathers Use GPS

An intentional father does everything possible to be prepared for each of these stages and each transition.  But even with the best preparation and planning the journey will always be an adventure because every child is unique and every day is unpredictable. To succeed we must humbly seek God’s direction on a daily basis just as scripture says.

“The mind of a man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Just like you use a GPS when finding your way, so we should also we use the God Positioning System… GPS!

Fathers Living and Giving a Blessing

Several years ago I put together a series of four short videos that were filmed in my garage that we titled “Fatherhood in Focus”.  In these films I present how to give a father’s blessing to your wife and children, how to be a blessing every day, and how to take steps to become a spiritual leader in your home.

Watch these presentations, take some notes, make a plan, and then put the plan into action you will be well on your way to becoming a more intentional father. I promise!

Fatherhood in Focus Video Series

Practical ways that dads can strengthen their children by giving them what they need.

Intentional Fathers Get Tooled Up!

To be an intentional father you need more than inspiration and information. You need to be equipped with tools that get the job done. Check out our Father’s Day Resources webpage that contains a wide-variety of downloadable documents, videos, and e-books.

Make sure to share the short Father’s Day Tribute video at your church this weekend as you seek to honor dads.

The Rite of Passage. An Initiation to Manhood. 

What is a Rite of Passage?

A Rite of Passage is a special event or solemn ceremony that signifies the change of an individual’s social status, such as marriage, baptism, coming of age, graduation, or inauguration. It is a ceremony that involves a significant change of status in society which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another.

What is a Coming of Age Rite of Passage?

The Coming of Age Rite of Passage signifies the transition from childhood to adulthood. While observed by many people groups and cultures for thousands of years, is largely missing from our modern world. During this presentation we will refer to the Coming of Age Rite of Passage as simply the “Rite of Passage”.

What are some examples of the Rite of Passage?

Some Rites of Passage still exist today in various cultures, but my favorite is the Australian Aboriginal Walkabout. The Walkabout is a rite of passage during which males undergo a journey during adolescence, typically ages 10 to 16, where they live in the wilderness for a period up to six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.

The Essential Elements of the Rite of Passage

The Rite of Passage for the Masai, the Spartans, and the Marines all share the same three essential elements or phases which are listed below…

1. Separation Phase – Preparation for Manhood

The young person is taken from his familiar environment to enter a different and sometimes difficult world. Separation can take many forms such as a distant journey, a struggle in the wilderness, or just a time away from parents. This is the phase where the young person is trained and prepared for the transition phase which includes the test of manhood.

2. Transition Phase – Test of Manhood

The initiate must undergo some sort of change, whether it be a trial of arms, a survival challenge, or increasing responsibility. The transition phase is the time where the participant learns the appropriate behavior for the new stage he is entering. Whatever the transition event is, the person is different when he emerges from what he was when he began. This challenge is so great that failure is a very real possibility.

3. Incorporation Phase – Celebration of Manhood

Finally, during incorporation, the young man or woman is welcomed back into the larger society, hopefully as a transformed person with a new sense of purpose and mission. This last phase takes place when the young person is formally admitted into the new role, and it often features a ceremony complete with gifts, blessings, and a feast.

If you would like to plan your own Rite of Passage with a few other good men download the Manhood Rites and Blessings document here. It’s one of the most powerful things you could ever do for your adolescent son.

Below is a short film that gives an overview of ways that dads can use the outdoors to make an impact in the lives of their children.


“Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.” — Frank Pittman