Being a father is a tough job. It is full of responsibilities and it is easy to be overwhelmed at times with the weight of fatherhood on your shoulders. But there are a few examples a father should set without fail. Or at least the best we can.
We have good days, and bad, but there are a few things we should get right on a daily basis to help prepare our children for the things life will throw at them.
It starts with living with the intention of teaching your children. It is easy to keep your actions in the forefront of your mind when you have that intention.
1. Presenting A Work Ethic Worthy Of Example
As a father I feel this is one of the most important examples you can teach. You may not be the best at anything in this world, but you can finish what you start, and that is the backbone of a good work ethic.
This doesn’t mean spending all your time at work. It means doing the best you can while keeping your priorities in order. Spending 80 hours a week at work may look like good work ethic, but it isn’t. It is most likely neglecting tons of other responsibilities. Work ethic is an off shoot of your over all ethics, and will help you take all of your responsibilities seriously, not just what you do for money.
Plenty of people have amazing work ethics and very little money. Money is most definitely, in my opinion, not the measuring stick of a quality work ethic.
I think leadership is more than just being able to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. It’s about character and integrity and work ethic.― Steve Largent
2. Respecting Others
Respecting others is a great way to teach your children about freewill. When you do not respect others, you work to bend them to your will, instead of allowing them to flourish under their own. Your will should be directed in defeating your own demons, not controlling others.
Freedom can only be a viable option when people are respecting each other. Most people feel like they need to respond to others that do things they don’t like.
Someone cut you off in traffic? Someone was rude to you? Who cares. You can still show respect in all situations that are not life threatening. It does not mean you are a push over, it means you value the lessons you show with your actions more than you do in getting even.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”― Marcus Aurelius,
3. Showing Self Control
Nothing sets better examples a father should set for his children than self control. It is also one of the hardest. I, and many others, have something called an addictive personality. Too be honest, my children, and this single reason, have helped me more with that than anything else. I struggle with self control when it comes to most things, and setting the right example as a father has really brought that into the light. But it also gave me the strength to defeat it.
When you want something, and you don’t have to stop, it is very hard too. But knowing that you are teaching another human, not only through word, but through deed can show you that you don’t need it.
Self control keeps you from making poor decisions that can put yourself, and more importantly, your family at risk. Never risk them, and their well being for something you can live without.
No man is free who is not master of himself. ―Epictetus
4. Living Minimal
When people here the word minimal, if they have not read up on the subject, I think they envision living in the woods somewhere. That isn’t at all what it is for most people. It is for others, and that is ok. But for most people it just means living simply.
Living simply means not allowing material things to control you. When you build your goals, and livelihood, around things, you neglect the more valuable things in your life. Most of the time that is family. Some people have found ways the balance the two, but it seems to be quite rare.
I am not telling people to quit buying cars. We need them. Stuff costs money. But consider buying less car and dedicating the life you don’t have to spend trading for the car, with your family, or making yourself better. It is actually a pretty easy goal once you can accomplish the task of not caring what other people think of you. You can’t control that anyway, so why bother trying?
Your life is far too valuable to be wasted on the life that everyone else is choosing.
― Joshua Becker
5. Being Kind To Your Child’s Mother
If you are on bad terms with your child’s mother, I know you just rolled your eyes. But hear me out for a sec.
Their mother is probably the most important person in their life. There are certainly some instances where the mother completely ruined that. Substance abuse, neglect, sometimes people are just a-holes. But It says a lot about a man who can deal with adversity and not lose his cool.
If they do have a good relationship with their mother, you can never improve your relationship with them by putting her down. In any way at all. And too be honest, don’t bother. It just brings you down. If being mean makes you feel better, you have a lot of soul searching too do.
Think about what that woman went through to have your child. I cant even. Carrying a child for nine months. The hormones, the weight gain, and self image issues. That’s just while she was pregnant! The junk after is worse! The list would be a thousand words long, if you actually wrote how awful child bearing is. We have to go to the store to get ice cream when she asks. I’d say we came out alright. Plus we had a child! After all that she literately gave us, what should be the most important gift we ever receive.
I do not care what she did. Cheating, ran off with money, bankrupted you. No matter what your feelings are, never let your child see you being unkind to her.
If you are being unkind now, and she hasn’t done any awful thing, please reassess how you are treating her, and the example you are setting in front of your child. That makes it even worse if she is a good mother.
You wont ever be a good father from being unkind. But being kind in the face of adversity, or when there is none, is a great way to put yourself on the path of setting the examples a father should set for their children.
I think the associations people have with kindness are often things like meekness and sweetness and maybe sickly sweetness; whereas I do think of kindness as a force, as a power. ― Sharon Salzberg