Setting an Example
With Father’s Day just days away, the June issue of War Cry of The Salvation Army contained many inspiring stories about fathers’ roles and how parents influence children throughout their lifetime. Tammy Darling wrote “Dad, Someone is Watching,” focusing on how important it is for parents to live as role models for their children, reminding us that “being a parent implies that God has ordained you to lead by example.”
Darling offers several tips on how to inspire your children to grow up to be a well-rounded and faithful person, preparing them to be a role model themselves one day. Some of Darling’s advice is listed below.
• Be positive: Always try to look on the bright side of situations and believe in yourself. This mindset will rub off on your children, providing them with a sense of hope and happiness.
• Be curious: The desire to learn exemplifies the importance of education to your children. Showing them how you continue your education and never stop learning will inspire them to do the same, and see why you believe education is imperative to life.
• Be able to admit your mistakes: Blaming problems on others or an external issue teaches your children nothing. Owning up to your mistakes and learning from them will not only help you work on correcting the problem, but also show your children that they, too, can successfully overcome obstacles in life.
• Be kind and respectful: Carrying out the golden rule, treating others as you would want to be treated, is an important idea to relay to your children. This teaches them to be a kind and caring person. A respectful attitude such as this can only improve society as a whole.
• Be there: Even if they might not express it, your children want to look out at the audience during their school play or sporting event and see their parents in the crowd supporting them. If you do not attend your children’s activities or performances, it only shows you do not value promises you make. Never make promises you cannot keep.
• Be faithful to your beliefs and goals: Have high expectations for yourself and behave accordingly every day. Live life compassionately.
• Be of service to others: Ensure your children know why it is important to serve others and why a particular cause is significant to you. Put others first, and discuss how Jesus made this a key belief, intentionally seeking out those who were lost, hurting or forgotten.
• Be proactive in conflict situations: Remember you always are setting examples for your children, so it is beneficial to everyone to be positive. If needed take a moment to yourself, pray, and configure how you can react optimistically and reasonably. This will demonstrate to your children that they also can handle problems this way, and that avoiding problems just sends the situation downhill.
• Be empathetic: Be a loving parent and understanding of whatever issues your children are facing. Reassure them by offering direction to help them work through it.
• Be involved with your children: Let your children help out in any way they can, as they enjoy feeling wanted. Doing activities with each other will only strengthen the bond between you and your children.
• Be supportive: Instill confidence in your children by believing in them and allowing them to follow their dreams. Introduce them to new things to widen their interest level and help them learn about the world.
• Be able to laugh, and laugh often: It’s important to let loose sometimes and show your children that taking life too seriously will only cause additional stress and anxiety. Find humor in something each and every day. As Darling wrote, “Life is too short not to laugh – it’s also too long not to laugh.”
For more from War Cry, visit its website.