When a man discovers he’s going to be a father, a million thoughts run through his head at once. “Am I ready for this? What if I don’t raise him right? Can we even afford to have a kid?” As time goes on, these panicky thoughts give way to the deeper questions, such as “What do I want my child to know?” We want our children to grow up to have the best life they possibly can.
There are many things fathers hope their children know by the time they leave the nest. These include:
1. Knowing how to speak up
Children should know how to stand up for what they believe in. However, this doesn’t mean they should learn to be obnoxious and only focused on getting their way. Fathers should teach their children to be calm and collected in their approach to arguments, as well as relentless in their pursuit of justice. Not only should children be taught to stand up for themselves, but they should also know to stand up for those who cannot fight for themselves.
2. Working hard in all you do
So many kids (and adults, for that matter) don’t understand the value of hard work. In a time in which instant gratification is so widespread, it’s important for fathers to show their children that dedication and hard work takes a while to pay off. But they should also lead their children to understand the satisfaction that is felt when a job has been done, and done well.
3. Being persistent
Whether a child is speaking up or working toward completing a task, fathers should communicate the importance of sticking with their pursuits. Giving up is giving in, and admitting defeat. Fathers should teach children to see things through to completion. Giving less than their full effort is wasting the talents that were given to them.
4. Contributing to a clean environment
Fathers should show their children how important it is to keep their room clean, and focus on how it will improve their overall mood in the long run. Children should know how important it is for them to help out around the house, so their parents aren’t cleaning up after them day after day. And they should definitely understand the importance of keeping their community clean by not littering, picking up trash, and recycling.
5. Taking care of their body and health
Fathers should model the importance of keeping a healthy body through nutritious eating, exercise, and lifestyle choices. Fathers who overeat, laze around, and smoke and drink are more likely to raise children who follows in their footsteps. Even children who are seemingly healthy should learn how important it is to be active on a daily basis. If they grow up practicing unhealthy habits, it will be much harder to get healthy when they’re older.
6. Treating everyone with respect
Fathers should teach their children that every single person on Earth is important in some way, and deserves to be respected as a human being. This goes for the people serving you at restaurants, the people who collect your garbage, and the homeless people sitting outside the convenience store begging for change. Fathers should model compassion for everyone they meet, and their children will follow suit.
7. Staying informed
At a time in which information is at our fingertips 24/7, ignorance is absolutely inexcusable. Fathers should communicate that staying current is incredibly important in order to continue being compassionate. Being informed about controversial issues will lead to children being able to understand the importance of assisting groups of people who have been shunned or otherwise slighted by society.
8. Being responsible
Perhaps one of the most important jobs a father has is to teach his child to take responsibility. When a child makes a mistake, he should feel comfortable admitting the truth, rather than hiding from it and digging himself deeper and deeper into despair. It’s always hard to admit when you’ve done wrong, but a father should instill in his children the idea that owning up to mistakes is the sign of a truly strong and mature person.
9. Putting family first
Your family should be the most important group of people in the world to you. They’re the ones who were around when you were born, and will be the only people who will love you unconditionally throughout your life. A great father will model this by always being there when his children need him, and dedicating himself to his family’s safety, security, and happiness. He should also teach his children the importance of spending time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, and brothers, and appreciating every experience you have with them.
10. Embracing their flaws
Nobody is perfect. Unfortunately, children are often incredibly insecure about their shortcomings, and fixate on imperfections. For example, young children often think they’re “not good at math” or “not a good reader.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it holds them back from truly trying to succeed. Fathers should teach their children that trying their best and persevering through adversity is is much more important than succeeding at everything they set out to do.
11. Being comfortable with who they are
Fathers need to help children be comfortable in their own skin. As they grow into teenagers, children will often make a big deal about their appearance, finding little physical imperfections to obsess over. Fathers need to help their children get past this stage by showing them how to appreciate themselves as a person not defined by their physical appearance. When children are comfortable with who they are, they can be confident in themselves and their ability to succeed.
12. Not being afraid of failure
Many times, children are so afraid of failing that they don’t even get started on the path to success. Fathers need to be there to support their children when they’re feeling insecure or inadequate. They need to instill in them the idea that failure is not the end of a journey, but just a bump in the road. When children see failure not as a roadblock, but as a stepping stone, they’ll make the most out of every experience in their life, whether it be positive or negative.
13. Stepping out of their comfort zone
Fathers need to push their children to constantly expand their comfort zone. Staying where they’re comfortable is easy, but it’s also a surefire path to stagnation. Fathers should always be up for trying something new so their children see how much life has to offer. They’ll never see it if they spend their weekends holed up in their room or on their phones.
14. Not wasting their talents
All people have one or two things they’re just naturally good at. It’s important that fathers teach their children not to take these talents for granted. Talented children can sometimes become conceited and start to mistakenly believe they’ll be able to get by on their natural talents alone. That’s not the case. Fathers should push their children to push themselves further.
15. Not letting life pass them by
Fathers should teach their children to never take life for granted, and to take advantage of every waking moment they’re given. Every moment lived is a chance to excel and experience something new. If fathers teach anything to their children, it should be to never waste the gift of life.
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