Pedagogical hope is a fundamental disposition for raising children. This attitude among fathers of children with Down syndrome (DS) plays an essential role in their children's development. This phenomenological study sought to explore fathers' lived experiences and to reflect on what it means to be a pedagogically hopeful father of a child with DS. Max van Manen's hermeneutic-phenomenological method was applied. Phenomenological interviews were held with 10 fathers of children with DS in Spain, Ecuador and Scotland. Anecdotal narratives from the transcribed interviews were analysed based on philosophical, philological and human science methods. The four eidetic themes in the phenomenological text show how a pedagogically hopeful father (1) is realistic; (2) believes in the strengths of his child with DS; (3) trusts in his positive influence; and (4) is open to unexpected surprises. Lived experiences of pedagogical hope reveal fathers' fundamental roles in stimulating the utmost development of their child's capabilities. Reflecting on this pedagogical attitude will undoubtedly encourage fathers, educators and health care professionals to make the most of this disposition and enhance their relationship with their children with DS. © 2019 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.