Dads Helping Dads Figure Out Being a Dad

Parenting: Straighten Up and Fly Right!

And now, behind Door Number 1 …

Really now, as men, we were probably not as interested in what was behind Door Number 1 as we were interested in the model. Right?

Well, this post is about models, but not THAT kind. I want to go two directions with this, so be a little patient. Jesus said that when a student is fully taught, he will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40).

I was blessed to have a few significant parenting models apart from my own parents. Now don’t get me wrong, I guess that my parents did a pretty good job in raising us 5 kids. My dad was a service station owner and my mom did not work outside of the home (a common situation, right up until LBJ came up with the “Great Society” and fired up the inflation that made it necessary for so many moms to work for a paycheck!). From them I learned about commitment and hard work. I learned about truthfulness and integrity. I learned about public service from their work in the Lion’s Club.

But my parenting skills needed strengthening.  While I felt that my parents had done an OK job of parenting me, I came to believe that there were areas where my parenting skills might be better than what I had learned from them.

I first noticed this about the time I was 18 and I perceived that my girlfriend’s family had dynamics that were missing in my own and I decided to watch and learn. I thought I would marry that girl, but I did not. Nevertheless, Bob and Doris W. and their family had a profound impact on my life, not the least of which was the faith I developed in Christ – a faith which has shaped my life from that point forward.

A few years later, I got to know several “older” couples in the church where I settled and later served. One stands out, though lessons were learned from many others. But it was Willis and Ethel K. who became close friends and it was Willis who later became Jeremy’s “adopted” grandfather after my dad and my wife’s dad died.  I imagine that some of my future posts will reflect some of the conversations that I had with these dear couples – and reflect some of the observations that I made about their parenting and their families.

The point is, if you think hard about it and wonder if your upbringing may have left some holes in your experiential parenting education, look around and find some families you admire – and then figure out why.

Now the other direction … How are you as a teacher? If your child turns out just like you, would that make you happy? Would that make you proud? Or are you of the “do as I say and not as I do” mindset? Fair warning: Your kids likely WILL turn out like you. If you cheat on your taxes, they will probably lack integrity. If you cheat on your wife, they will probably have commitment issues. If you drink to excess, expect to visit them at the drunk tank after their prom. Do you get the picture?

As a new parent, now is the time to straighten up and fly right! Your kids will idolize you and try hard to be like you. If that will not make you happy, now is the time to fix it.

When the student is fully taught, he will be like his teacher. Be the model you want your children to be like!