Openness to life, love, and failure are just a few of the things Marie Roker-Jones recommends teaching boys.
If you ask most parents what they want most for their children, the response will more likely be: to raise happy, healthy and successful children. We sometimes forget that what we want for our children has to be what they want for themselves. It’s more important to raise children that have an understanding of their values and do their best to live by them. You may raise a successful child, but if he has no compassion, love or integrity, what good is his success to the world?
The key to raising better children is simple: Live your life as a better person. Yes, this is easier said than done. We are not perfect and sometimes our best isn’t good enough. Even in our challenging times, our children can learn from us and gain a better understanding of how to pick yourself up when you fall down. These five tips are a springboard for you to live life with grace.
1. Teach Your Son to Be Open to Life’s Blessings
Saying yes to life allows wonderful blessings to come to you. Say yes to new opportunities and success. Say yes to a life that you live by your standards. Say yes to making your own decisions and not seeking approval of others. Say yes to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Say yes to a relationship that energizes, supports and stimulates you. Say yes to a promising future. Say yes to living without guilt, resentment or regrets. Say yes to spending more time on your self improvement. Say yes to living an authentic life. Say yes to taking chances and freeing yourself from fear. Say yes to happiness and achievements. Say yes to a well-lived life.
2. Teach Your Son That Love is Unconditional
When was the last time you allowed love to lead? Withholding love as a means of control only leads to distrust and resentment. Loving unconditionally means loving without judgment. Free yourself from unrealistic expectations and accept the person you love for who they are. Do not expect your needs and wants to be fulfilled by someone else. Allow those you love to express themselves without fear of rejection. Do not punish yourself or loved ones for past mistakes. People use the word love very loosely, but do not stop to think of the implications of using the word. Take the time to be responsible in how you show love. Allow yourself to love and be loved.
3. Teach Your Son to Take Healthy Risks
Everything in life involves a risk. Are you allowing fear of rejection and failure to dictate your life? Fear inhibits success. Take chances and free yourself from limiting beliefs. Taking risks empowers you to take charge of your life. Be curious about life; experiment and try new things. Set goals for yourself and take action. Step out of what is safe, comfortable and familiar to you. Examine what feelings emerge when you are thinking about taking a risk. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Concealing yourself in a safe container prevents you from exploring other possibilities. Embrace the unknown and anticipate success. You will never know the outcome if you don’t take the risk.
4. Teach Your Son to Make the Most of Opportunities and Failures
It is possible to get through the difficult times in life. Learn from failures and take responsibility for your life. Listening to your inner critic can sabotage your dreams. Silence the critic by reaffirming all the things you are capable of doing. Dream big and be excited about your future. Find and release your untapped talents. Believe in your abilities and discover what you have to offer the world. Think about all the things you can’t do and try to do them. Think back to a time, when something was difficult and you were able to overcome the challenge. Continuing to live life in a safe container doesn’t help you gain anything in life. Take the necessary actions to achieve your goals. Stop assuming and start achieving!
5. Inspire Your Son to Leave a Legacy
What’s your legacy? How do you want to be remembered? The life you live defines who you are and the choices you make will determine what impact you will have on the lives of others. Never underestimate the power of your words and actions. You were uniquely created to make a contribution to the world. It is your right and your obligation to make your mark in this world. Surround yourself with people who are supportive, positive and encouraging. Show appreciation and gratitude to those around you. If you have a message to share, then share it with the world. Staying small and thinking small will not get you where you need to be in life. Starting today, have a new perspective on life. Start a new chapter in your life.
Originally appeared on Raising Great Men.