A father who leads in humility has children who understand forgiveness. A father who leads in honesty has children who truly understand what integrity means and who strive to maintain their own.
As teenagers (and tweens), your children will arrogantly believe that what they think to be right, is “the way it is.” This will be difficult. Remember they will be adults and the same truths apply to their selfish-pride even now. Also remember, your job is to help them understand the difference between arrogance and confidence.
Your children will respect you more when you are wrong, and you own up to it asking for their forgiveness, than when they realize that you are so stubborn you will act like you’re right at all costs, even the expense of your honesty.
Do your best to be an example to your children of how to overcome these temptations. This is how you can guide them to be men, or women, of God, treating others the way they want to be treated. This is how you equip your children to be poised to make a difference in this world. Much of the world that will surround them, by the time they become adults will behave in a manner contrary to these truths. It is your job, Dad, to set your children up for success.
My temper makes me unapproachable. It chips away at my credibility. It causes people to “walk on eggshells” when they are around me, so as to not step on a land mine that will set off an explosion of my temper. It causes my children to be hesitant to bring their concerns, their problems, and their crisis to me because they are not sure how I will “react.” This is the opposite of what we want as fathers.
When kids speak with all their emotion, they will try to rope you into that emotion. Be careful not to simply fall into the ‘expendable’ emotion that your children are feeling at the moment.
When we react, there is an automatic response (remember the knee-jerk) that will cause whatever happens to be inside you, at that moment, to spill out. If you are frustrated about a situation happening at the office, your children will no doubt experience your anger about that situation even though they are not involved, if you simply react to them. Of course, you would never “intend” for that to happen,
Your kids will fail. Do you explode when they do? It’s important for them to know that they can talk to you when they fail. They will also speak to you inappropriately – they’re kids. I’m not saying allow them to do so, but don’t allow them to shape your attitude, based on their foolishness. Your job is to shape theirs.
The basic idea of what kind of a man your daughter will want, or your son will desire to be, is a byproduct of your example in practical areas of life (not just the “big” areas). It is who you are in everyday life.
Do you ever wonder why girls can be attracted to the “bad boy type” or stay with a man who is hitting them? It is not that their father was exactly the same, but it may often be that her father exhibited a small portion of such behavior (as I have) and the pattern written on her heart isn’t catching the differences.