Dads and the Power of Smell (See Video)


Happy Father’s Day!

Earlier this week, I sat down and recorded a few minutes of video to encourage you. The basic message is probably not something you want to hear on Father’s Day: “Hey, dad. You stink!” But in this case, that’s a good thing!

I talk about a few examples in this short video:


I know some dads give off aromas that no one should have to share or remember—and talking about smells at all might be risky. But I know that just as you remember how your dad smelled, you can leave your own powerful and lasting impressions by letting your kids be close to you—close enough to take in the feel of your cheek and yes, even your smell.

This was confirmed by something a dad wrote as part of our Father of the Year Contest. Check out his words:

Tell [your children] they are loved. Hold them close; let them know what you smell like. I listened to my wife describe what she liked about me when we met. She said I smelled like her dad working around the farm when she was growing up. [And] that brought back good memories for her. I hear my daughter say the same things. When I’ve put in a long day and I think I smell my worst, my daughter still hugs me.

Isn’t that amazing? This man’s wife was affected that strongly by how he smelled when they were dating, because she had good memories associated with the way her dad smelled. Even our smell as dads has a powerful and lasting effect on our children.

how to be a father 6-14I’m not saying you should avoid the shower or anything; make sure you aren’t torturing anyone. But don’t hesitate to hug on your kids just because it’s been a long day or you’ve been working outside.

So there’s your action point for the day—or maybe the month. Keep pulling your kids close. They probably won’t show it, but they really do thrive on your bear hugs, your squeezes on the shoulder, your physical touch. Children have a profound need for physical contact with their dads. Their self-esteem blossoms when we nurture them appropriately.

At Father’s Day, I can’t help thinking second about the millions of boys and girls who never get a hug from their father. Don’t take those opportunities for granted. Pull your kids nice and close.

Do you have specific memories of your dad that are associated with a smell? I’d love to see them—and I’m sure other dads would, too. Please leave a comment either below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Be intentional about physical affection with your children. Hug and kiss them; hold them in your arms; include lots of loving physical contact as you interact and play together. Put your arm on their shoulder. Start a good tickle fight.
  • Ask your kids to suggest a cologne they like that you could start wearing—or go shopping with them to find one.
  • On Father’s Day, encourage and bless your children based on their unique interests, activities, and accomplishments. Here are some more specific ideas for how to do that from our friend, blogger Clark Smith.
  • Make Father’s Day a time to recommit yourself to being the father your children need. We’re here to help! Get our free ebook on meeting your children’s needs—or my book, Championship Fathering.
  • Be sure to honor your dad (or another father figure in your life) this weekend. Recognizing him as a good role model; thank him for his work ethic; mention memories from your childhood. If you can, tell him, “I love you.”


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.

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