Book Review: Better Dads, Stronger Sons by Rick Johnson


A much needed book in our culture of confusion over manhood and fatherhood. Better Dads, Stronger Sons unashamedly presents a Biblical view of fatherhood and what it means to raise a son to be a man of Godly character. Each one of the powerfully crafted chapters guides fathers toward a renewed vision of who they are and who they need to become as a father. A perfect book to go through with other men in your church or as a reflective personal read.


Authentic Manhood

Authentic manhood is about living with Godly intentions, with an understanding that life is about something bigger than a father’s own ambitions or success. It is about servant leadership in his home and world. A man’s life is not about what he does but what he does for others. A Godly man stands up in the middle of adversity and claims Godly truths.

Authentic Fatherhood

Fatherhood is the center of true Godly manhood. God the Father gives us the example of authentic fatherhood. Fatherhood is a God-given privilege, a privilege that has the power to impact others, especially a son, as he models what a man is called to be socially, mentally, and spiritually.

Coming to Terms with the Past

Understanding his own upbringing and relationship with his father can affect how a father approaches his own son. The key is to remember the good and let go of the bad of the past, passing on the good to a son. Coming to terms with the past may even require a father to reconcile with his own father, preparing him to raise his own son. There is also power in a grandfather being able to pass along a Godly blessing, if possible.

Bonding with Your Boys

Bonding with a son gives them life. Activities and moments seeking to bond with a son forms a natural God-given connection. Sons are born with a God-implanted need to admire and have a relationship with their father. Bonding is an opportunity to model how to live a responsible Godly life. Absent or disconnected fathers will create anger and pain. What every son wants from his dad is: 1.) Time together. 2.) Direction 3.) Modeling of Convictions. 4.) Seeing his heart.

Mistakes All Dads Make

Understanding mistakes allows a father to teach their son how to not make the same mistakes of: 1.) Emphasizing Weakness, not Strengths. 2.) Avoiding Physical Affection. 3.) Giving too Little Time. 4.) Pushing for Performance. 5.) Forgetting to Have Fun. 6.) Fearing Failure. 7.) Abusing Power. 8.) Neglecting Your Need for Friendship. 9.) Being Inconsistent. 10.) Being Complacent and Passive.

Making a Noble Man

There are qualities of being “noble” that a father must teach their sons. 1.) Perseverance through learning to stay strong in moments of adversity with mental toughness and resiliency. 2.) Commitment by keeping promises showing Godly integrity and loyalty. 3.) Compassion for others and those weaker. 4.) Self-Discipline and self-control through Godly intentions and thinking. 5.) Humility that reflects a Godly spirit. 6.) Honor. A Godly father or son’s character is summed up by their honor.


Children need rules, structure and guidelines. Boys, even more than girls, need strong boundaries and discipline. Discipline comes in two forms: internal and external. External discipline is what a father uses to teach internal, self-discipline. The Bible speaks of a loving father being willing to discipline and correct his son. Sons need to understand accountability and consequences in order for them to grow up to be God-honoring men.

Loving Your Wife

A wife is God’s gift to a husband and should be loved and valued. The way a father treats his wife will teach their son how a woman is to be treated. Fathers should honor their wives through things likes: 1.) Speaking highly of her. 2.) Expressing love publically 3.) Gifts and notes. 4.) Treating her as a respected equal. Modeling love will set the course for a son to have a better marriage and family of his own.


Respect is not being scared, but rather treating others like you want to be treated. Respect is extending to others dignity as God’s creation. Self-respect is seeing one’s self as deserving of receiving respect from others. Fathers teach respect through teaching boundaries. Boundaries allow a son to understand respect for authority, women, and others.


God has created men as sexual beings that are visually oriented. He created sexuality to be enjoyed inside of marriage, but because of sin in our world, it has become twisted. The keys to teach a son correct and guarded sexual purity is through: accountability, Biblical teaching, and frank, honest conversations about pornography, masturbation and dating.

Role Models and Mentors

Boys need role model. Without a model of masculinity in their life, they will become lost. The most important factor in a boy becoming a good man is the presence of a Godly male role model of some kind. A role model and mentor can infuse a Godly blessing, self-confidence, and knowledge into the future of a young man. Boys need heroes, and dads are those natural heroes.

Leaving a Legacy

Manhood is passed on from a father to a son. Boys learn how the world works through the legacy passed on by their father. Fathers need an intentional action plan, continuing to learn and pray for their son.