3 Life Lessons I want my children to learn from me
I am very aware of the solemn responsibility I have as a parent. It's not just what I say, but what I do, and most importantly, how I treat them, that will have an outsize impact on the kind of men my boys grow up to be. You don't want to mess up your kids, and that worry keeps me praying.
I hope that I am setting a good example for Elijah and Ezra, that they see in me how they should conduct themselves in this world. Here are three particular life lessons that I try to teach by example.
1. Work hard. I am a firm believer that the key to success is a belief that it can be achieved through effort. It is not a result of talent. It is not something that is just given to you because you want it. Success, mastery, excellence is earned by putting in the work. The latest research is reinforcing this idea that kids who believe they succeed because of the effort they put in tend to do better than those who believe they succeed because they are "smart" or "talented." I hope that my boys see in me someone who works hard for what he wants, and who sets a high standard for himself and then strives to meet it.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might"
2. Do your duty. It's kind of an old-fashioned concept in today's entitled culture, but I really hope my boys will learn the honor of doing one's duty. There are responsibilities we have, commitments we have made. And it's important to fulfill those responsibilities and keep those commitments. Even when it's unpleasant, uninteresting, or difficult, I hope my boys will be the type of men that see it through. I hope that's what they see in me--a man who keeps his promises. (Though this is tricky, as my older one often accuses me of breaking promises--the problem being that they are promises he created in his own head, not ones I made. "Daddy, you promised you would buy me that toy." "What?!? I said no such thing!" **sigh**).
"He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
3. Trust God. This is probably the most important life lesson I want my children to learn from me. When the world seems to be spinning out of control, I want them to have a deep bedrock of trust in God. I want their trust to be deeper than mine, if that's possible. I hope they'll be free of the spiritual struggling that has dogged me my whole life. I want theirs to be a deep and abiding faith, free of arrogance or judgement, full of peace and joy. I hope they'll live for Jesus without getting caught up in church dogma. I hope they'll love Him more deeply than I have because they trust Him more. In order for me to teach them, all I can do is ask God to deepen my trust in Him, and strengthen my walk with Him, so that my boys can follow in my footsteps.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path."