A lot of times as a dad I feel like all I am doing is telling my kids off and telling them what not to do. Whilst on one hand this is good, because kids have to learn control and discipline, it’s not legendary.
Rather than just telling our kids what not to do we should also be teaching them what to do.
Here are four timeless principles you should be teaching your kids.
1. Tell The Truth
We need to teach our kids to tell the truth at all times no matter what the cost. This will instill character. This will cause others to take notice. It will give them backbone.
“Don’t lie”, is something all dads say. As a kid I always marveled at how my dad knew when I was lying! Now that I am a dad it is so easy to tell when my kids are lying. You can see it so clearly etched in their face, a look of discomfort. I hope they never lose that look.
If you look at why we tell lies the basis of it is in two things: deceiving or trying to impress. We try to deceive because we have probably stuffed up and we try to impress to make ourselves look better than what we really are. Both are wrong and only end up hurting ourselves and others.
Telling the truth is an age old principle. The question is how truthful are you?
2. Work for Things
Our kids need to know if they want something then they have to work for it. There are very few free things in life. They’re going to have to work hard for the things they want. The old pearl, “anything worth having is worth working hard for” is a great one.
However it’s bigger than that. It’s also about instilling in our kids not to steal.
Stealing is wanting something but not wanting to put any effort into deserving it. It’s a selfish act because it disadvantages someone else for our own personal gain.
There is a certain satisfaction that comes from having to work hard for something. The feeling of sitting back and knowing all those hours of toil were so worth it.
3. Bring Encouragement
There seems to be a culture nowadays in society to put people down even if it’s only in a joking manner. It’s particularly prevalent amongst men as we generally seem to be incapable of moving beyond superficial conversations.
Whilst this can be fun it’s pretty lame.
I have one mate who is so motivating, inspiring and is constantly encourages me to get my ass into gear. I’d hang out with this mate every and any day of the week!
How cool would it be if our kids were known as someone who will always encourage and inspire those around them to shoot for the stars?! That after having a conversation with them people will go away with such a positive and up lifting vibe.
This can occur but it starts with us dads! We need to model this for our kids so it becomes second nature for them because they have seen and experienced it from us over countless years.
You can do it!
4. Be Forgiving
The opposite of forgiveness is bitterness and it is extremely destructive. Many a family is ruined because people harbor bitterness towards others and can’t bring themselves to forgive the person who they perceive as having ‘done them wrong’.
Here’s a great little proverb: “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” That is pure gold and sums it up beautifully!
Sure there can be genuine reasons to be bitter but seriously life is too short to let other people ruin your life. Dust yourself off and get on with it.
We need to teach our kids that life can be cruel and they will get but they have to always look for the best in others and give them the benefit of the doubt. To not allow others failings to be an excuse for them to be bitter.
Of course if we are bitter and unforgiving then it’s pointless telling our kids not to be. In fact if we are like that we will probably encourage our kids down this tragic path! How sad that would be because we are pretty much telling them to drink poison.
Be a bigger man and forgive others so our kids will grow up to do the same.
The kicker here is that we really need to embrace these principles before we can pass them onto our kids. Sure we may not be masters of them fully but we can provide an example to our kids and move from just telling our kids “don’t do that” to then also adding “instead do this”.