One of my biggest joys is being a father to our three children: Caden, Blake and Ava. Being a parent is a blessing, a commitment and a responsibility. But it’s not easy; if you have children you know this. Children love to test boundaries and mine are no different. It is part of their curious nature as they explore the world around them. Our goal as parents is to prepare them; to raise adults; leaders who are well balanced and ready for the road ahead.
Nothing highlights the importance of my role more than when I travel for work (maybe it’s because of the insecurity I feel anytime I fly). The week before I travel I often find myself questioning my actions and assessing if I’ve prepared them to the best of my abilities. The questions are simple: What if I don’t make it through this flight? Will they be ready to take on the world around them? The best way I’ve found to respond is to teach them from what I’ve seen and experienced. I make an effort before I travel to speak truths to them. These are moments of empowerment as I see their eyes grow with every word I speak. The world needs more leaders and I get to shape them daily.
Balance Pride with Humility
I don’t ever recall my father telling me to be proud of our family’s name. I do remember the stories of his youth. He respected his father deeply; the tone in his voice was stern when he spoke about him. I want our children to experience something more. I want them to be joyful and proud of our family name. More than the Portuguese heritage it carries, I want them to view our name as synonymous to kindness, hard work, integrity and a love for God. These reflections allow pride to co-exist with humility. Furthermore I want my children to be humble enough to recognize others first. While we are confident, we must not convince ourselves to always know everything. Humility often grants leaders the opportunity to lead.
Balance Responsibility with Respect
I remember my father working long hours with night shifts a regular occurrence. He never sat me down to talk about responsibility as an action but he demonstrated it daily. I remind my children of their responsibilities as being members of our family: to help out around the house and clean up after themselves (not all tasks completed result in monetary payment) and to prepare for the day ahead (doing their homework, pack their lunch, brush their teeth, etc.). And while I let my little girl know that she can do anything that boys can do, I specifically share with my two boys how they are to protect the family while I’m away. But none of this is complete or “whole” if they don’t respect their mother, their siblings, family and friends. Reflecting respect for others provides leaders the authority to lead.
So how do you parent? Do you prepare them for leadership? Did your parents provide a lesson worth sharing? Please add to the conversation by commenting below.