Success is a word that means something different to almost everyone.
How each of us decides to define success really reveals so much about what we value and are committed to accomplishing.
As a dad, no matter what age your kids are, you have your own image rolling around in your head of what success for him or her looks like at each stage of their growth and development. That image of success may be based on how your own parents brought you up, or on something totally different. You may have come to understand your own value system and priorities for success in your own unique way, sifting through what you’ve learned since becoming an adult, keeping what resonated with you and discarding the rest.
In my book Raising Kids That Succeed, I share that I believe, based on my many experiences as an educator and parent, that there are five keys that are important to remember in parenting kids for success.
When we think about the “keys” to something, we tend to automatically think about doors. If a door is locked, then we need a key of some sort to unlock it.
I decided to use the concept of “keys” in providing an action plan for parents because the more I thought about this whole process, the more it conjured up a picture of doors in our thinking processes. These doors are either blocking our desired destination or being opened to allow us to walk through to new and more successful destinations.
The success that we all desire in our own lives and in the lives of our children lies within our reach if we just take the time to learn and apply these five important keys to Raising Kids That Succeed.
The Five Keys
In my many years as a school administrator, I always had a large set of keys to carry around. Often, the school campus had several different buildings, and each building had its own set of keys. With all of those keys jingling around, it was a pretty daunting task to try to remember which keys went to which building.
I came up with color-code systems, used different kinds of key chains, and any other method I could think of to cut down on my confusion and the time it took to actually find the right key I needed at the moment.
If you’ve ever had a similar experience, then you can appreciate the concept of the Master Key.
The Master Key is your best friend.
It’s the key that will work in most doors when you can’t seem to quickly find the individual door key you need. Master keys are highly protected because, as is obvious, this one key will open many doors. It’s perhaps the most important key you carry around with you every day.
Let’s take a look at the 5 Keys to Success:
Key 1: The Master Key
The Master Key is the overarching and supporting mindset that a parent must first have before attempting to engage in discovering and identifying their own limiting beliefs and transforming them into empowering beliefs.
Here is the Master Key:
No matter where you are in your parenting journey,
it’s never too late to Change, Improve, Learn,
Confront limiting beliefs and replace them with
That means that any place you fall on the parenting spectrum, from not yet being a dad but planning on becoming one, to being a dad with adult children, it really doesn’t matter. It’s never too early or too late to engage in the self-discovery required for this important journey.
I’ve actually helped parents of adult children engage in this process and, in so doing, dramatically improved their relationships with each other. New ways of thinking and believing replaced old, sabotaging belief systems that had long strained their relationships.
Key 2: The Thinking Key
I strongly believe that “great parenting requires great thinking.”
This key simply says that we have to do a good deal of thinking about what we want to create as we engage in parenting.
It means that effective parenting is much more about us as parents and who we are and our thinking than who our kids are, at least in the beginning.
The Thinking Key gives us the power to take charge of life by thinking, contemplating, reflecting and knowing our attitudes, beliefs and insights all along the way.
It requires honesty and authenticity, first with ourselves, and then with others.
The Thinking Key unlocks the doors of exploration and progress and helps us walk away from ignorance and apathy.
It’s a key that only a small percentage of people ever routinely use.
Key 3: The Intent Key
I also strongly believe that “great parenting is intentional.”
The Intent Key allows us to be deliberate about what we do.
It means that we contemplate our actions and behaviors before we act. It means that we are premeditated in our selection of words, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs.
The Intent Key allows us to unlock the doors of purpose and design. Without being intentional, we can never hope to change our deeply ingrained limiting beliefs.
Without being intentional, we can never hope to do the sometimes painful work of transforming our limiting beliefs to empowering beliefs.
Using the Intent Key, we can gain access to a world in which we are no longer drifting from day to day on autopilot, filled with fear and worry, or with self-blame when we don’t achieve the desired parenting outcomes.
I hope that you will make your own personal commitment to grab on to this key and become intentional.
Key 4: The Discovery and Empowerment Key
In a few of my previous GMP articles, I discussed in-depth Identifying Limiting Beliefs, The Impact of Limiting Beliefs and Breaking the Cycle of Limiting Beliefs.
A succinct way to communicate the message of those articles is through the use of The Discovery and Empowerment Key.
The Discovery and Empowerment Key reminds us of the two-tiered process: Discover our own limiting beliefs and change them to empowering beliefs; discover our child’s limiting beliefs and teach them to change these to empowering beliefs.
Making this process an intentional, thinking habit will allow us to unlock the doors of personal happiness and lifelong success not only for our children, but also for ourselves.
Key 5: The Legacy Key
I would guess that there might be many reasons men decide to become a dad.
Although I didn’t ask that question in a parent survey I recently conducted, a common reason I hear from people is they want to continue their family name or, in other words, bring another life into the world.
I think what they are trying to communicate in many ways is that they want to leave a legacy.
If you looked up the word legacy in a dictionary, you would find one of the definitions is, “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”
There is actually a non-profit group in the U.S. called the Legacy Parenting Project, which was created with the intent to educate, equip and encourage moms and dads to parent with purpose.
I can’t think of a better way to describe The Legacy Key.
Being a dad with purpose is really what we’ve been talking about.
Author Stephen R. Covey, in his well-known book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says in Habit 2 to “Begin with the End in Mind.” This habit is based on imagination, the ability to envision the future and, in this case, your child’s future. Beginning with the end in mind means doing everything you can now to build the legacy that you desire through thinking, intentionality, discovery and empowerment.
The Legacy Key allows us to build a life of purpose and direction for our child instead of a life left to worry, fear and chance. Understanding the power of the Legacy Key unlocks the door to Raising Kids that Succeed not just for now, but for generations to come. That is because this legacy is self-perpetuating and will literally transform our world one family at a time.
I hope that you will make the decision today to do the hard work of personal awareness and discovery that will allow you to unlock the doors for your children and usher them into their own lifetime of true happiness and lifelong success.