If your family doesn’t view your actions as respectable, honorable, well-intentioned, then you will have a hard time convincing them to listen to you or follow you.
We’re not talking perfection; we’re talking motive and action.
Be vulnerable to a degree with your children – let them know you have faults and you’re not always aware of them. But the main thing is you identify them and you are working on eliminating them. That allows them to be honest about their faults, and open up to you to discuss them.
If they bring up their shortcomings before you have to, it will create a stronger bond between you.
To paraphrase the great Vince Lombardi, pursue perfection to achieve Excellence.
So on occasion – in private, ask them what they are struggling with or are working on improving.
Something like “Hey, how are things going with you – do you have any challenges or things you are trying to improve?”
If nothing pops to mind, add “I’ve been working on getting more organized at work. You know, better planning and scheduling of my day to be more effective, a better steward of my time. I can see opportunities to improve if I think about what I’m doing, then plan the work to make those changes. That’s the only way we see the benefits, right?” (Let them respond)
“Have you got anything you are trying to improve right now? I can just listen, or I can offer some suggestions if you’d like.”
Make sure they know you aren’t going to try and “solve” everything.
Girls usually want someone to listen, and boys usually want to feel independent and find their own solutions. So for girls, get ready to just listen – for young men, see how you might help them find the answer (even if you already know it). That’s a main responsibility for us as fathers – lead our children to the right answers. That allows then to own the solution.
Dad Power! Being able to reference something the whole family remembers you changed or corrected can be a huge example to use when helping them with a challenge or struggle they have.
Action: What is one thing most everyone in your family would (agree/identify) could be improved in your life?
Q: Are you willing to do the work to improve this area to set the example for your family as the leader?
- Start with your “WHY” – Why am I doing this? What are all the benefits to making this change? (you don’t have to have a lot of benefits, one can be enough)
- Write it down – make it obvious to yourself, and be specific.
- Plan actions in your calendar to start making slow changes that will eliminate this thing from your daily/weekly habits.
- Look back at your WHY every week so you remember why it’s worth your efforts.
There’s not “one way” to be a great father, so give yourself some slack.
Focus on making little changes and improving little by little. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish over time when you are committed to the Better Things for you and your family.