Fathers have a tremendous impact on the character traits developed in their children. While every child is born with a personality that makes them uniquely them. As they develop, character traits are “infused” from the people closest to them in their lives. There is a strong difference between personality and character.
Personality, by definition, is a person’s natural inclination to do or respond in certain ways. Kids may be born with a funny, more outgoing personality. Or maybe they are more naturally introverted, serious, or analytical. These traits are ingrained in their DNA, and they naturally lean toward these tendencies. Character traits, on the other hand, have more to do with the values that motivate attitudes and behaviors. These traits provide a person the sense of right or wrong morally.
When raising our children, we desire our kids to have quality characteristics like these:
Honesty Hard working Perseverance
Compassionate Generous Loving
Integrity Resilient Spiritual
Loyal Caring Responsible
Respectful Kind Courageous
We would all be proud to raise a child with those traits. How can we do our part to make that happen? Here are a few things I have learned along the way raising my own children:
Children will be no greater than the role model that has demonstrated character traits to them.
As a father, you want to set the level of the character traits that are developed. Your life and your influence will infuse these character traits.
To put it another way, if you want your child to have high integrity, then you have to demonstrate integrity in your life. If you want your kid to have perseverance, then you have to show them what that looks like. For example, you can demonstrate perseverance when you have failures. Show them by not giving up, getting back in the game, choosing not to blame others, or wallowing in pity. If you say, “I just want my kids to be better than me” you are kidding yourself. YOU HAVE TO BE BETTER THAN YOU! They are a sponge and will soak up who you are and your character traits. Talk is cheap, show them by your life. It is not about what you say, but what you do.
SHOW, don’t tell them.
How, you ask? Spend time with them. Don’t say “go and play with your friends” while you have to work to do. Take them with you to Home Depot. Have them help you work on the car. Let them paint an inside wall with you. Does it take more time to paint a wall with a 5 year old helping you or doing it by yourself? Of course it does! But it is those times that your kids soak up who you are and your character traits. They will cherish those moments throughout their lives.
Look for “teachable moments” to demonstrate character traits in your own life.
These happen daily in your life. For example, if you hit a car backing up in a parking lot, leave a note with your information instead of driving away. They are watching to see if you have integrity! Be an INTENTIONAL role model to them.
Dad, I will leave you with this: your children want to be just like you. You are their hero. Live your life and demonstrate good character traits for THEM. They will soak those traits up from you like a sponge. How you live your life is a direct template for how they will live theirs. They are watching you, be the adult you want your child to become!
P.S. This topic is explored by fathers just like you in week eight of our FOCUS for Fathers classes. Consider joining me for a series as part of your own development as a great dad. Give is a call and we can make it happen! 817.926.9499