Your Child's Hero
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
Johnny Johnson's thirteen your old daughter stayed up later than usual to finish her homework recently. She was working on a writing assignment that was due in the morning. Her middle school teacher had assigned it a week earlier, but like a lot of teens, the youngster saved her writing efforts until the last minute.
Mr. Johnson's daughter, Sabrina, had talked about the assignment earlier in the week. Her job was to pick one of her heroes and tell why this particular person was a hero to her. Gentle reminders from her father about completing the assignment during the week fell on deaf ears. "I've got it under control," Sabrina told him, "I have it already written in my head. This will be an easy one. I just have to take what I already know and put it on paper."
If your child received an assignment like this, which would they write about? A rock star, athlete, politician, or a television personality? Maybe they would write about a teacher, a clergyman, or a fireman. One would hope that the recipient of this attention would be someone her parents respected and thought worthy of their child's esteem and adulation.
Later, after his daughter had gone to bed, Mr. Johnson noticed her writing assignment lying on the study table. It only took one glance for a rush of strong emotion to begin running through his body. He was stunned by what he saw. On the top of the first page was the title of her essay. It stated: My Father, My Hero.
Johnny Johnson began to cry. What a compliment! What an unexpected affirmation of all he had attempted to be as a father!
Who would your child write about if given this assignment? Do you wish they would write about you? It could happen. Especially if your actions today are heroic, if you behave like a hero in front of your children. Listed below are several ways to be a hero to your children. Add them to your repertoire of heroic actions. Do it as a father's day gift to yourself. You deserve it and so do your children.
- Be the good Samaritan. Stop to help a stranded motorist. Rake the leaves of an elderly couple. Bake cookies for the nursing home residents. Allow your children to help and witness a caring father in action.
- Be approachable. Tell your teens that the front porch light is a signal. Whenever the light is on that means you are available to talk, even if you are asleep. Tell the little ones that your easy chair is your listening chair. If they ever have a concern, question, or frustration they can ask to sit in the listening chair with their father. Follow through.
- Attend sporting events, concerts, and school activities. Be visible in the stands when your child participates. If your child can see you, she knows you can see her. Demonstrate good sportsmanship and appropriate manners.
- Search for Solutions. Focus on problem-solving with your children. Minimize blame and punishment. Focus on finding solutions instead. Give your children a model of a father who cares about finding ways to fix things rather than making people pay for their errors.
- Hold your children accountable. Holding your children accountable for their actions and choices is one of the most loving things you can do as a father. If you don't hold your children accountable, someone else might have to.
- Be consistent. It's not the severity of a consequence that has the impact. It is the certainty. The kiss of death for any discipline system is inconsistency. Hold your children accountable for their actions with an open heart and do it with consistency.
- Take their suggestions seriously. You children have ideas about what to do on your next vacation. They know certain places they like to eat. They have ideas on how to spend entertainment money. It is not necessary to use all their suggestions. It is necessary to hear them all, think about them, and give them serious consideration.
- Teach. Teach your child to hit a baseball, ride a bike, and use a fork appropriately. Resist the effort to outsource important learning to other groups and individuals. Teach your child to care for pets, treat all living things with respect, and appreciate nature. Model exactly how loving and compassionate a strong man can be.
- Invest in experiences rather than things. You child does not need a brand new $400 sandbox with a swing set attached that comes preassembled. He needs the experience of going out in the backyard with his father and building a sandbox together. One more new toy is not necessary. What is needed is the experience of taking a trip to the lake, the library, or to a rodeo.
- Make charity visible. Let your children see your trips to the Red Cross to give blood. Let them participate in the decision on how to spend the money in the family charity jar. Let them help pick out the coat that goes to the Coats for Kids program. Allow them to put the money in the church plate as is passed down the pew.
Want to be a hero in your child's life? Add some of these ideas to your tool box of parenting strategies. Someday you just might discover your child's writing assignment entitled, My Father, My Hero.
About the Authors:
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children: Practical Strategies for Parents and Teachers to Help Children Manifest a Better World. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or to obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs visit their website today: www.personalpowerpress.com.
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