Be The Example
One question new parents always ask me is “what can I do to be a good parent?” It’s a simple question and one that I’m happy is asked. Why? Because it shows there is real interest in wanting to do good in what I consider the most important job in the world. However, it’s obviously not an easy answer because there are so many things that can and should be done. Nevertheless, the single easiest and most important thing I tell new parents to do is to be a good example. Do and be as what you want your kids to be. If you want an honest kid, value and be a person of integrity. If you want a giving child, give to those in need. If you want a reader, read yourself. Kids are more than likely to be and do what they see and value. And if your kids value you above everyone else (which most kids do) they will rely and revert to the example you set.
As a father I am mindful of what example I’m setting, especially for my daughters. Of course my boys will learn a lot from me but so will my daughters. Because one thing I’ve learned is the husband of their choice will very likely resemble my characteristics and my personality. If I’m a yeller or an abuser mistreating their mother or themselves I can’t be surprised if they choose a husband 20 years later that is doing the same. On the contrary, if I tell them I love them and show them I love them they will naturally search for a spouse that loves and cherishes them.
Case in point, my 10-year wedding anniversary last week. My best friend said to me, “Well done, bub. You made her (Frances) really happy.” My response to him was blunt, yet honest. I said, “This may sound rude but I didn’t do this just for Frances. I did this also for them.” I was pointing to Dee Dee and Jo Jo who were both as happy as can be with overjoyed smiles from ear to ear. Sure the night was for Frances but she wasn’t the only beneficiary. Our kids saw, felt and experienced their happily married parents honor and celebrate their love and respect for each other. Simply put, they benefited just as much as we did. In closing, although it was a lot of work putting the surprise event together it was a 1000% worth it. It was not only a love filled night for us but it was also an investment into our kids’ future.