A powerful tool in shaping the heart of a young child is called a “Daddy Tape.” When our children were young and had play alone and nap time in their daily schedules, we had something special for them on a cassette tape player. Teri would turn on the “Daddy Tape” before leaving the room where the child was to play or nap. If she was in a hurry and forgot to turn on the tape player, the young one was quick to remind her because the “Daddy Tape” was a very important part of quiet time.
We were given the idea for a “Daddy Tape” from the now-out-of-print book called Creative Family Times: Practical Activities for Building Character in Your Preschooler, by Allen & Connie Hadidan, and Will and Lindy Wilson, published by Moody Press. Since this book wouldn’t be available for you to purchase, I would like to share how we took the “Daddy Tape” idea and beneficially utilized it in our home.
Each of my five younger children, except one, had a “Daddy Tape” that I had specially recorded for that individual child when he was about a year to a year and a half old. To my shame, though, Anna didn’t have a “Daddy Tape” and had to listen to her older brother, John’s. I planned to make her a “Daddy Tape,” but kept putting it off until it was too late. Anna has reminded us in a good-natured way on several occasions that she was the one who didn’t have her own “Daddy Tape” but listened to another’s. I wish I had managed my priorities better when Anna was young, because if I had done so, she would have had her own tape like her siblings. “Daddy Tapes” were very special to my little ones. I planned to make a new “Daddy Tape” for each child every year, however that didn’t happen either. Again, if I had it to do over again, I would make sure that I updated those tapes with new thoughts and information appropriate to the child’s age.
There is an exceptional bonding that goes on when a child hears his daddy’s voice frequently. The same is true for the child of God concerning Jesus and His voice. We don’t hear His voice directly, but our spirits can be tuned to it by reading the Word daily. In a similar fashion, our children’s hearts can be pulled to us as they listen to us sharing words of love and encouragement to them everyday. John 10:3-4 tells us that “. . . the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
Let me tell you why those tapes meant so much to my little children. For thirty minutes, they would hear me as I shared my heart with that one particular child, calling him by name. I talked to him heart-to-heart and told him things I wanted him to know. I told him how much I loved him and how important he was to me. I encouraged him to be obedient to his mother and to be kind to his brothers and sisters. I read Scripture to him, talking to him about what the passage meant and how he could obey it. I shared goals I had for him and character that I wanted him to demonstrate. I don’t remember singing on any of the tapes, but that could be very special if there was a song on your heart for that child. A “Daddy Tape” is a wonderful way to multiply yourself and provide some “pseudo” time with a child. Our children loved listening to their “Daddy Tapes,” and I believe that your children will as well.
When my married son, Nathan, made his first “Daddy Tape” for his one-year-old daughter, Abigail, a few months ago, he had one comment, “That was difficult!” Oh, I remember that part too. I would be remiss if I didn’t prepare you that making your own recording can be challenging. “Daddy Tapes” were a real labor of love on my part. Some might think that a thirty-minute recording would be easy, but it wasn’t for me! I found that coming up with thirty minutes of worthwhile child-level material was challenging. Also, back then, we didn’t have editing software to splice out mistakes and replace them with good content. Instead I simply re-recorded a mistake, brute forcing it until I had thirty minutes of material. With all the trouble it was to record each “Daddy Tape,” I still felt that it was well worth the effort.
I found it best to make notes prior to beginning a recording. For days I would write these prompts on a slip of paper in my Bible. I would jot down a Scripture verse during my morning Bible time that I wanted to specifically share with the child for whom I was making the recording. I would meditate on the passage so I would be able to share insights from them on a child’s level. I also wanted to discuss with the child why those verses were important for him.
To help with this planning part of the “Daddy Tape,” I suggest that you think about shortcomings you are observing in the child’s life and ask your wife for her input. Then consider the positive behavior or character that is needed to compensate or overrule the negative struggles your child is having. If the child is very young, that might not apply, but you still can concentrate on strengths and the positive outcomes you desire.
Do you desire that your child is patient and kind? Talk on the tape about how patient and longsuffering the Lord is with us and how the child should be willing to allow others to go first. If someone else is playing with a toy he wants, then he needs to patiently wait for his turn. Talk about how he loves it when someone is kind to him and how he can be a blessing to a brother or sister by being kind. Encourage the child that his kindness will please the Lord, you, and Mommy.
What a delight it is to have grateful children. Use the “Daddy Tape” to teach gratitude. Talk to your child about saying “thank you” every time someone does something for him. Give him examples he can relate to such as saying “thank you” when Mommy gets him a drink or a brother reads a story to him. There really is so much content that can be developed for a “Daddy Tape” and so much power available in that teaching time. It just takes a bit of planning to get started, and then you will begin to see how you can expand your influence in your children’s lives through “Daddy Tapes.”
As I mentioned, my recordings of “Daddy Tapes” were simply a matter of hitting the record button on the cassette tape machine and beginning to talk. It helped greatly to talk relatively slowly so the child could follow what I was saying, and it helped me during the recording process.
When I made a recording mistake, I would rewind to that spot and begin recording over the top of the mistake. If I had been recording in a calm, slow pace, with a momentary pause before each sentence, it was easy to begin re-recording at that point when I had mis-spoken. Eventually, I had a thirty-minute tape that became my master.
I learned it was important to never let the master be played, but rather to always use a duplicate for the day-to-day use. Things happen and especially in a young child’s room. I remember the surprise we had when we found that one of the children had recorded his own special sound effects right over the top of a portion of Mary’s tape. We weren’t happy about it especially because Mary had been listening to the only recording of her tape that we had. That was before we learned the importance of a master and copies. With CDs, a child couldn’t record over what Daddy has on the CD, but CDs can be scratched or even broken. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Back in the cassette tape days, recording tapes was easy because most homes had a cassette recorder. The cassette recorder either came with a microphone, or you could use the built-in one. Today, CDs are the norm, and it takes a little more effort to record a voice on a CD. If you are not familiar with this process, I have written out some basic information to get you started. You will find it at the end of this article.
Making a “Daddy Tape” is not quite as simple using the computer as it was using old-fashioned cassette recorders, but with some effort, you will succeed. It is worth it for you to persevere. Tomorrow morning during your Bible time, begin jotting down notes and Scripture references as the Lord puts them on your heart that you would want to include in your “Daddy Tape.” Your children will be blessed, and Mom will likely find that the children have a new incentive for going to their play alone, nap, and rest times. “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8).
Basic Information for Voice Recording on a Computer
I will hopefully share enough to get you started without making this into a CD-recording tutorial. If you have further questions, you will need to do some online research.
Whether you use a PC or MAC, both come with the ability to record to a CD. To do so, you will need a microphone, recording software, and recordable CDs. Most computers come with microphones these days, but if yours didn’t, they can be purchased for twenty dollars or less. External microphones will either plug into the microphone jack of your computer or be a USB microphone.
The recording software that comes with Windows and MACs is marginally acceptable, but it should do the job. Windows “Sound Recorder” is found under Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Sound Recorder. It is as basic (and easy) as it can be and more closely resembles the old fashioned tape recorder. I recommend saving your file to the “My Music” folder so it is more accessible for when you want to copy it to CD.
When you are ready to copy your file to a CD (burn the CD), open Windows Media Player. Then click the Burn tab near the top of the display. Insert a blank CD. The challenging part is importing it into Windows Media Player so that you can burn it. The capabilities are there, but you will likely find it a bit challenging. The greatest difficulty I had with it was importing the recording into My Library so it was available to burn.
MACs can use Garage Band which is found in Finder and the Application folder. Click on the Real Instrument tab and select Vocals. Then click on the Red (record) button located near the bottom of the display, and it will begin recording, provided you have a microphone attached and the correct Input Source (Internal or external microphone) selected. Save your recording to the Desktop, and when finished, you are ready to copy it to a CD.
Insert a blank CD into your drive, and you will see an Untitled CD appear under Places. Click on it, and then drag the recording from your Desktop onto the Finder window under Recordable CD. Select the recording by clicking it once and then click the Burn button and you will soon have your first Daddy CD.