In the blink of an eye, my children have turned 18 and are living life as an adult. Where did the time go? More importantly, did I invest enough into their lives in the first 18 years, to carry them through the next 18 years?
I think one of the scariest moments is when your 18-year-old son, starts acting like you, saying the same things as you. Contemplate on the example you have set. Do I really want my son being just like me?
Let’s face it, our children are always watching us. When they are younger, they play act as us. They want to become like us. They observe whether we are the same at home as we are in public. They are looking for authenticity in us.
So, what should we be modeling and teaching our children? I have highlighted five priorities for every child to learn from their father. This is not an exhaustive list, and I challenge you to add to the list.
1. To Dream and Have a Vision for the Future.
Unless we dream of the future, we are unable to reach higher than we are now. Most parents want to see their children achieve better than they did themselves. This comes from setting a vision for the future and working to achieve it. How can children learn to dream? By listening to their parents, dreaming, and encourage others to dream.
2. To Work Hard
What work ethic are you setting for your children? Do they see you working hard and productively? This does not mean working all the time, but working effectively, and valuing work. It may be that they see you at your place of employment, or working with a community group, giving back to the community. Both are important for children to see, and copy.
3. Manage Time
Working hard is great, but their needs to be a balance. Children need to learn how to manage their time. What is the balance between work and family time? How much time should be given to community groups? My children learned from a very young age that I worked hard, but set aside time daily for my wife and children. Every day I came home, the first 15 minutes was couch time with my wife. Then there was time for children, homework, home duties, and community service. Show your children how to use time effectively.
4. To Have Integrity.
To have respect by respecting others. Your children will directly copy the way you treat others, whether family members, or work colleagues. They hear how you talk about work colleagues and neighbors behind their backs. Do you speak up for the helpless and downtrodden? Do I help the poor and misfortunate or do I ignore their pleas? We need to encourage our children to have a voice to speak up for the misfortunate and for themselves. This comes from installing a self-confidence in our children, supporting them as they make decisions.
5. To Love
There is little more important than love. To love, means taking a risk, that pain could follow, and we need to teach our children, especially our daughters how to deal with hurt (another article). Our children need to see that we love our wife. We need to show our sons, that men showing affection is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a sign of confidence in who we are. Our children need to know that we love them. This comes from us displaying love in a multitude of ways.
We need to be the man, that we want our sons to be. We need to be the parent we want our children to become.
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