Have you ever thought about what you hope for your kids? Do you think about the things you wish for them in their own lives? I don’t mean do you think about what profession you want your child to pursue or where do you want them to live or what kind of activities they will pursue. Those are their choices—not yours.
However, there are aspects of their lives that I am sure you hope they will enjoy: a love of learning; a passion for their chosen career; hobbies and activities that bring them joy and fulfillment; a joyful personal /family life; health and well-being; and love.
In addition, there are values and aspects of character that you want to instill in your children: honesty, virtue, integrity, trustworthiness, accountability, etc.
These are the more difficult aspects of parenting. It’s easier to teach a kid how to throw a baseball than it is to teach them to tell the truth. It’s easier to support their love of piano than it is to instill in them the work ethic that is required to practice consistently enough to master the instrument. It’s easier to fix supper than it is to teach kids about the value of healthy eating. And so on.
But, oh, the life lessons that are ours to teach, as parents. And while we can spend time reading, studying, preaching, and teaching about the core values and aspects of character that we want to instill in our children, there is one best way to do so. Model it.
What you model, your children will learn. If you wallow in despair about your work – your kids will model this and they will wallow in pain about their work. If you complain about people in front of your kids – your kids will learn to do the same thing. If you gripe about doing chores, cooking healthy meals, working out, anything—you are modeling that for your kids.
On the other hand, if you pursue work that you enjoy and express your happiness in the service you provide; if you do what you need to do with a pleasant attitude; if you do what is right no matter how difficult, and etc. – your kids will do the same thing.
Live a life of uncompromising character. Do what is right. Always. Epitomize the values that you want to instill in your children. Give your children the very best of legacies—a life worth living. Be a role model for all that you hope for your children.