Be A Dad: Tip 5 - Be a Role Model
Fathers are role models to their kids, whether they realize it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect by boys, and what to look for in a husband. Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility, and responsibility. (Taken from NFI’s best-selling brochure, 10 Ways to Be a Better Dad.)
Tips for Being a Role Model
- Behave as though they are always watching. The fact of the matter is your kids are watching and will copy you. So don’t be surprised if those four-letter words that slip out when you’re mad get repeated by your little one. Though your teens may act like they’re too cool to copy you, they are picking up cues from you on how adults behave, so make sure that your actions, words, and habits are something you would want your children to emulate.
- Do the right thing, no matter the consequences. You will have opportunities to “get ahead” if you’re willing to let your moral convictions slide a little – whether that’s on the job, coaching little league, or on your tax form. Being a good role model to your kids means doing the right thing even at your own expense.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” when you mess up. Everyone makes mistakes, and unfortunately those mistakes often hurt the people we love the most. When you mess up, model humility to your children by telling them that you are sorry. You’ll set a powerful example by admitting when you’re wrong and taking action to make things right. Check out NFI President Roland C. Warren's blog post on The "Sorry" Language of Love – it has some great practical advice on how to say those difficult words “I’m sorry” – and how important that is to building relationships.
- Walk the talk – live out your values. It’s important to talk with your children about why you do what you do – your values and your convictions and, if your family is religious, your spiritual beliefs. Incorporate those values and beliefs into your normal family conversations – but more importantly, make sure your actions are in line with those values and convictions. Your actions will talk much louder than your actual words.
- Put first things first. Make sure your priorities are in the right order. Don’t let work responsibilities and career goals keep you from spending time with your family. As parents, it’s very easy to let your kids monopolize your time, but don’t forget to invest in your marriage and build your relationship with your wife. Ask your family or a friend to hold you accountable to keeping your priorities where they need to be. Your kids will likely adopt similar priorities as you.
- Model good habits. Be a good role model to your kids by adopting good habits like exercising regularly, eating healthy, managing your finances well by spending less than your income and saving for the future, and giving back to the community by volunteering.
By the way, you are not only a role model to your children, you are a role model to other children in your sphere of influence! Check out our resources to help you be a Double Duty Dad™
to kids around you who need a father figure's positive influence in your life. Not only that, but you can be a role model to other dads who could use some encouragement on their fathering journey.