Our children hunger for the best from us as fathers and we long to give it to them. To break it down into the simplest of terms, if we want to give our kids our best, today’s fathers should consistently do these 3 things.
Men, tell your children you love them—early and often. Explain that you love them simply because they are your sons and daughters. In addition to telling them directly, try small but spontaneous acts of love, like leaving a note in your child’s locker at school or writing a message with a dry erase marker on his or her bathroom mirror.
Of course, love goes beyond just words. Setting household rules and expressing fair discipline lets our children know they are valued and protected. It also sets a standard for when they are adults. Our children may never know or see many of the other sacrifices we make on their behalf, but the impact it will have on them is invaluable.
Life keeps going and we must continually adapt as our children grow and the world around them changes. As parents, we always should seek to keep learning. In fact, the choice not to keep learning puts us behind at an increasingly rapid rate. Consider the importance of staying up to date onthe latest technology, increasing your knowledge of child development as our kids transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, or even going back to school yourself to advance your career.
Keep learning. When we grow as our children do, we set a strong example for them. Our willingness to do so conveys that we notice and take interest in their lives and that is a message all kids need. A teachable parent is an engaged parent—one who is actively attached rather than detached.
The words “do as I say, not as I do” should never come from a parent’s mouth. Because more often than not, our children will do as we do. That should be like a power surge to our awareness of how we are leading our families—both inside and outside the home. How we incorporate loving and learning are representative expressions of our leadership.
Leadership comes in many forms and research shows that when parents become leaders, not only do they themselves benefit, but their children also assume similar age-appropriate roles. Lead in the home through responsibility, finances, faith, and values. Lead in the community through active engagement in your child’s school and community volunteering. Don’t take this for granted. Sometimes the most obvious and mundane tasks can be the most influential upon our sons and daughters.