Marie Roker-Jones reminds parents that we’re not just raising children, we’re leaving a legacy.
I have a funny pin on Pinterest that pretty much sums up my responsibility as a mom of boys. I think sometimes we get so caught up in raising our sons, that we forget that these boys and young men will one day be husbands and fathers.
We forget that each moment we share with our sons are teachable moments. We forget that we’re not just raising children, we’re leaving a legacy. I want my sons to learn from my accomplishments as well as my failures and challenges. I want them to understand that parenting is not a chore but a responsibility.
I want my sons to know that although gifts and words are nice, nothing spells love like spending quality time with your children. Don’t try to buy your children’s love by lavishing them with gifts. Your children are not a burden. The time you spend making money for your family can never replace the time you spend with your family.
2. Don’t Be an Enigma to Your Children
Take the time to talk to your children about yourself and your life. Don’t keep them guessing who you are. They shouldn’t find out things about you after you’re gone. Let them get to know you. Tell them your story so they can share it with their children.
Your children will learn more from your mistakes than from your success. Give them insight into what you’ve learned. Share your skills, experiences and your talents.
4. Keep Your Children Out of Adult Conflicts
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t put your children in the middle of your conflicts. Even if someone else is doing it, be the bigger person. Don’t force your children to choose sides.
5. Be a Husband and a Father, Not a Baby Daddy
Things happen but I hope that you’ve been paying attention enough to know to protect yourself. Make sure you know who you’re getting involved with before you make a commitment to a relationship or parenting. Make sure your relationship is healthy and balanced. You want to bring your children into a home filled with love and peace.
6. Change Your Vocabulary From “Me, Mine, My” to “We, Us, and Our”
Once you become a parent, you relinquish your right to be selfish. You can not expect life to go on as normal. You can not expect others to pick up your slack. You have to compromise and make sacrifices.
7. Have Realistic Expectations of Your Children
Your son or daughter doesn’t have to like or enjoy the things you do. Your children are not miniature copies of you. Don’t try to live vicariously through them. Support their dreams.
8. Parenthood is Not About Perfection, But About Trial and Error
You’ll never really get it right. No book, expert advice can help you as much as being active and being involved in the lives of your children. You’ll make mistakes. Your children will challenge you. You’ll have power struggles and disappointments.
9. Your Children Will Learn More From Watching You Than Listening to You
Practice what you preach, otherwise your children will think you’re a hypocrite. They’ll watch everything you do and how you treat others.
10. Listen More Than You Speak
Your children need you to listen to them and respect their thoughts and opinions. Your children need to know you’re paying attention to them. What your children have to say is just as important as what you have to say.
11. Don’t Let Society Define Your Role as a Father
Society and the media will present to you how you should think or behave as a father. Do what is best for your family.
I do my best each day to walk the walk as a parent. I know that my sons need me to guide them and give them the tools they need to become great fathers.
What do you want your son to know before he becomes a father?
Originally appeared at Raising Great Men
Lead photo: Flickr/Susan Sermoneta