The Legacy Dad Stages of Child/Parenthood

I was in search of two things: An authentic, Biblical parenting philosophy and a parenting philosophy that had a proven track record of producing children who become Spiritual Champions as adults. The reports that 50-70% of Evangelical Youth are leaving the church after high school send some red flags that our safety-conscious, academic achievement-focused, self-esteem-promoting, parenting philosophies are currently not working. I was searching for a philosophy that created a close bond with my children, while instilling Christian values and other life skills that matured their trust and faith in God. Quite often, we are focusing on the wrong fundamental areas or using incorrect methodology in order to raise children who grow up to follow Christ and reach the lost.  What we should be asking ourselves about the above statistic is what are the other 30% doing differently than you and I?

I wanted my children to grow up to become mature and experienced in the following areas:

Faith - Trust In God Morals and Values Leadership and Accountability Relationships and Ultimately Marriage Outward Oriented - Selflessness

LifemapBiblically, we call this Spiritual Maturity or Discipleship but I was confused on how to accomplish this as a parent and I needed a plan. I also wanted a process that was easy to integrate into our family - a road-map if you will - to follow and track my parenting process along the way.  I wanted my children to have benchmarks, rights of passage, to live and experience their values that would culminate in an adulthood ceremony, where my children were recognized and congratulated on their progress and reassured they were ready for the world.

I started by reading a bunch of books, both Christian and Non-Christian (Pediatricians, Child Psychologists and some of the most popular parenting programs out there).  Each one had its own unique area but nothing all-inclusive and many had no research or proven track records.  Plus, their was a lack of congruence between many of the best selling parenting books and popular programs. Many focused more on making parents lives easier but were not the best for our children's development.

Often popular parenting books and philosophies focus heavily on reforming behavior, controlling our children's environment, or even manipulating our children to comply or obey.  While this seems popular with the Over Protective Parenting Crowd – I wanted to raise children who make the right decision out of obedience and love for God and no matter what environment they find themselves in.  I don't want to raise children who are merely obedient to my rules and boundaries but children who learn and grow to have a change of heart, a heart for Christ and who bear Fruit of the Spirit.

So I decided to pray, conduct my own research, and come up with a unique Christian road map that met my goals yet was practical and Biblical. I called it Legacy Dad because I realized the eternal importance of my parenting process and that many of my parenting efforts (good and bad) would not materialize until years down the road.

This "Road Map" is a work in progress that I've refined over the past 10 years as my children went from toddlers to teenagers.

Legacy Dad is a program to mentor and guide your children (and you as parents) from birth to adulthood.  Legacy Dad researches the top methods and programs for attaining this type of mentorship and puts them into a personal, customizable parenting package to fit your individual parenting needs and style.

This is a fluid plan that is constantly being refined based on trial and error and these are actual examples of concepts we have used with our own children. With all these examples and suggestions, we are always thinking about grace and moderation not parenting to extremes. The concept is to teach these principles to your child by setting the example as the parent. Children will not learn without their parent’s example. Actions not words. Plus, these concepts must be reinforced during impromptu moments and situations that can arise at any time. There are many times each day that we find ourselves in situations to teach and model these traits to our children. You cannot cram these ideas on weekends or vacations. It takes daily interaction.

The ultimate goal of Legacy Dad is to create this in our children:

Security in their Hearts

Significance in their lives

Strength for the future

Essential Life Skills

Spiritual Morals as a Compass

The Foundation of Legacy Dad is Grace Based Parenting.

Grace Based Parenting:

  • Accepts Children regardless of their merit
  • Serves Children's needs without a sense of obligation
  • Motivates children to a higher holiness without condemnation

The following process outlines specific ages, goals and resources to use as a parent during this process.  These meet the two criteria (Biblical and Proven)

Phase I

Birth to 5 Years – Cognitive Development

Goals – Secure attachment to parents, Secure Love, Learning through Play, Empathy for others, Boundaries/Disciplinecogyears

Baby Dedication/Infant Baptism

Blessing Your Child - Dr. John Trent - Strong

Introduction to Church/Biblical Living – Church Attendance, Sunday School

Family Traditions – Begin annual family rituals – A week at a lake cabin, sponsoring a needy family at Christmas, Thanksgiving Day Blessings – The idea is to create family rituals that you do every year and thus creates security and memories.

Family Night - Once a week, have a dedicated family night for movies, games, sharing, etc.

Grace – Grace Based Parenting Small Group I - Create and maintain an atmosphere of grace, focus on meeting your children's three inner needs.  Start teaching love, acceptance and grace during play, school, friends, sports. – This is learned through action not words.

Phase II

5-12 Years – Elementary Years

Character Traits – Place Character traits as your top parenting priority (Integrity, Truthfulness, Love, Acceptance, Courage, and Selflessness)

Grace Based Parenting Small Group II – Build Character into their heart

Sex/Body - The Story of Me, Before I Was Born, What's The Big Deal

Your Child's Uniqueness/Spiritual Gifts/Creativity - The Kids-Flag-Page from Family Matter Ministry

FamnightFamily Night - Once a week, have a dedicated family night for movies, games, sharing, etc.

Money/Charity – Financial Peace Junior – Dave Ramsey - Weekly and Impromptu Giving, At age 12, give your children a checking account to manage and learn budgeting, savings and charity.

Boundaries – Curfew, Phones and Media

Teamwork - Team Sports and Activities, Sportsmanship, Selflessness, Determination, Perseverance (Don’t let your child quit or miss practices unnecessarily. Also, don't allow them to give only a mediocre effort)

Evangelism – Teach your child to uphold their values/beliefs around others, Invite friends to Church/Youth Group, Having friends over during meal times (Prayer)

Dating – Father/Daughter Dates/Dances - Mother/Son Dates/Dances – Explain and show your children how to act and treat the opposite sex, make it a memorable event. (Some schools, churches sponsor these events)

Age 10 – Allowing freedom of choice - clothes (modesty) hair styles, friends, activities. = Grace.  You are allowing your children to learn discernment and make mature choices from an early age.

Responsibility - Start giving your child more responsibility in multiple areas without overwhelming them.  When they struggle, let them fail and or accept natural consequences of not being responsible - missing homework, forgetting items, not meeting deadlines, etc.

As your child gets older, the amount of control by parents needs to loosen as the child learns and begins to make their own decisions and ultimately mistakes (natural consequences).  They will learn decision making and Biblical worldview with your support, mentorship and guidance and the help of other adults, pastors, grandparents in their lives.  It's better for your children to make mistakes and learn while they are still in your home than when they are in their 20's and the consequences become more severe.  


Rite of passage -13-16 – Young Adult

As your child enters these ages, friends and social life will start becoming more and more important.  Many parents choose to disengage and allow friends to take the place of the family.  DO NOT let this happen!!  Keeping trying to engage (It’s not always easy) send them texts, tweets, Facebook messages, etc.  Continue to talk with them and be a part of their lives. Meet their friends, dates, teachers, coaches, etc.  Do not be discouraged.

Grace Based Parenting III – Aiming Your Child At True Greatness

Becoming a Young Adult – Teach Responsibility, Cooking, Cleaning, Houseworkmission, Employment

Father & Son Journey's Together - Take your son to Men's Events, Conferences, Weekend Retreats

Passport2Purity Weekend For Girls/Moms – Curriculum – Weekend at Resort, Cabin, Hotel

Family Night  - Once a week, have a dedicated family night for movies, games, sharing, etc.

Dating – Insist on meeting your children’s dates and making your children meet the parents of their dates. –Interviewing Your Daughters Date - For Daughters. Fathers talk to son’s about purity, responsibility and respecting boundaries.  What He Must Be For My Daughter - For Your Sons

Money - Generation Change –Dave Ramsey - Their own checking account, employment, paying for their own items and recreation.

Trust in God – Teaching your teens to trust the Lord for problems, challenges in life. Teach Prayer in times of struggle and in decision making, Help them overcoming a fear together (Roller Coaster, Bungee Jumping, Etc.)

EvangelismExplore Training (LifeReady) , Family Missions Trips, (e3 Missions)  Volunteering at your Church – Teaching younger kids or volunteering for a short term project.

Lance also added the following steps at this age:

Specific books to read developed for each child and their uniqueness and challenges that spark conversation and reinforce the core teachings. A Journal kept by your children to record this journey and their thoughts. An End of Phase Real World Test - Facing Your Fears, Serving Others, Leadership



Age 16-18 – Preparing For Life/College

This stage is where your child is starting to take their own path in Life.  As parents, we need to support them but also influence and guide them subtly. Being too overbearing could cause your child to rebel.

(*Note -This area has less than the others because we have not finished this age group yet with our children.)

Manhood/Womanhood Ceremony– Age 16 – A significant event marking your son/daughters transition into adulthood.  Give them a special gift or family heirloom, Partner with Men’s/Women’s Ministry, Coaches, Grandparents, etc.  – See Raising A Modern Day Knight and Raising A Modern Day Princess  for more in depth info.

Family Night  - Once a week, have a dedicated family night for movies, games, sharing, etc.

Evangelism – Mission trips with youth group or peers, volunteering at church, teaching younger kids in church.

Intimate talks about college, options, marriage, dating.

Marriage Preparation

College Bound  - Senior Year HS – College Ready Small Group Curriculum from Life Ready



We are also developing resources for College and Beyond as well as specifics for Special Needs Children, Autism, Single Parents, etc.  - Please Check back for updates.

The ultimate goal of Legacy Dad is to create this in our children: 

Security in their Hearts

Significance in their lives

Strength for the future

Essential Life Skills

Spiritual morals as a Compass