Orig. Post by All Pro Dad | Re-Post June 17, 2015
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is the fourth out of the state’s past eight governors to be indicted on corruption charges. It’s not a legacy Abraham Lincoln would have wanted his state to have. But the problem is bigger than modern-day Illinois politicians. It seems that character is in short-supply all over America. Whether it’s athletes, politicians, actors, businessmen, coaches or even clergy, it seems our kids have slim pickings when it comes to role models.
But there’s good news. The most powerful role model for children sits across from them at the dinner table. It’s you. Here are 10 ways to be a role model to your children:
1. Healthy Living
When we eat properly and exercise regularly, not only does it improve our own lives, but it sets the example for our children as well. Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in American society, which can lead to depression and disease. This is not to say a parent needs to go overboard, but every reputable expert will always tell you that moderation is the key in diet as well as exercise. Keep yourself inside the healthy range for where you are in life.
Apply whatever cliché you choose here, but you certainly can teach old dogs new tricks. Self-improvement should be on our minds continuously. Our children are always watching. When they see you not watching TV but reading a book instead, they notice. Try new experiences and broaden your horizons. This teaches our children to never stop growing as a human being. Something new is to be learned each day.
Make it a regular habit to get out in your community with your family and volunteer your time and talents. This is one of the best ways to build family unity, teamwork skills, and most of all, generous and serving hearts. The opportunities to do so are endless and the rewards are rich.
4. Open Up Your Life
Do not hide who you are as a person to your children. If you are living correctly, you should have nothing to be ashamed of. Take your children to work some days and let them see Dad in his own world. Let them see how you interact with other adults and how you carry yourself in the world. Status doesn’t mean a thing, but your attitude and your demeanor mean the whole world when it concerns what your children are learning from you about how to live life.
We are men and all of us have tempers. Releasing our emotions, whatever they may be, is healthy and reduces stress. How we go about doing that in front of our children, however, has major consequences. When they see Dad slam his fist down or curse loudly, it sinks into their psyche in a variety of ways—none of them good. As difficult as it can be, it is essential to practice self-control at all times in front of our children. Bite your tongue and control that temper. If need be, take it out in the gym or go for a long run. Your author here prefers playing drums. They can be very therapeutic in this regard.
6. Relationship Harmony
This is another very difficult aspect of being a role model. We have many important relationships and not all of them are going to be pleasant. Maybe there are issues with your parents, step-parents, brothers, sisters, or ex-wife. As noted, our children are always watching and how they see you behave in these situations sinks in. Also, how you treat your wife or significant other will also define how they act later as adults. Strive to find harmony in your personal relationships no matter how difficult it may be.
7. Respect and Listening
If you want to teach your kids how to be confident, it starts with showing them respect for who they are and listening to their own unique thoughts. This is a tough aspect to leadership, but the very best leaders are the ones who listen carefully and talk far less. Open your mind and your ears and listen to what your children are telling you. They will in turn learn to do the same later in life.
8. Positive Attitude
There is plenty of negativity to be found in society today. Do not add to the daily deluge your child receives. Instead, display a positive and reassuring attitude and pass that on to them as well. They need to be able to look at you and feel that everything is going to be ok, and it is. A positive spirit will always emerge triumphant.
9. Goal Setting
Setting goals are important to give us a benchmark of where we are going and the progress we are making. Implementing and achieving those goals are of equal importance. When our kids see us moving along exactly according to plan it shows them the importance of organization and self-discipline in their daily life. Help them come up with their own set of goals and praise them when the goals are met.
10. Walk The Talk
The single most important aspect of being your children’s role model is to always say what you mean and mean what you say. Walk the talk. Back up your words with visible and concrete action and be a man of integrity and value. Actions speak volumes. “Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin