We all have our own personal stories when it comes to words of wisdom we learned from our Dads. This topic will be a shared dialogue as we all contribute those stories that impacted our lives.
This will be an interactive topic for the group that allows each of us to give pause to reflect on those words of wisdom we garnered from our Fathers. How many of us are turning into our Fathers as we age?….more importantly how many of us are passing off those very same traits to our own children?…..& may not even realize it? Much of what we learn from our Fathers might not have come from a verbal exchange but rather is an inherited trait learned by osmosis such as a strong work ethic. Our objective will be to package the best advice to share among the Fathers that we can pass on to our children. For those of us whose Fathers are still living it’s never too late to seek out some Fatherly advice as we all know life is short…..embrace it!
1. The Praise of the Father…. Matthew 11: 25-26
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
2. Proverbs 13 :1,24
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
1. 2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.”29 The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.30
Small Group Questions
1. Name one teaching example from today’s discussion you would like to pass on to your children this week.
2. Do you have a question you would still like to ask your Dad for today?
Help them learn to stay with hard things. We have a daughter that excels at the piano. She loves music and was excited about learning to play the piano, and we really didn’t even have to encourage her to practice much when she was learning. But when we saw that potential, we found a teacher who would really push her to achieve. There were certainly times she wanted to give up when she struggled with a particularly hard classical piece. But with our encouragement, she stuck with it and developed her playing to an entirely new level. I know that if we had just said, “Yes, honey, it is so hard. Maybe you could go back to the other teacher,” she would never have felt the joy of really excelling at something tough.
Celebrate right behavior. As fathers, we are often quick to correct and slow to praise our children. So, in teaching values, we should not only correct behavior not in alignment with our values, we must reward behavior that exemplifies fundamental values. So when your child is honest even when it is hard, tell them how proud you are of them. When he or she is courteous or respectful to you or others, let them know it. The old adage that “there is no substitute for a good compliment” is never truer than in child-raising.
Share your stories. Look for times to share your experiences in living your values. Sometimes, without naming names, I have shared stories from my workplace about people who made good or poor ethical decisions and the consequences of those choices. Children, particularly the older ones, appreciate seeing how values apply in the adult world. So share your own stories and those you experience from others and help them see the application of timeless values in life.
Helping children see the value of your values is a role every father should play. Your efforts at shaping the people they become will be worth it. And, as life develops for all of us, whatever our experience, later in life we often find ourselves coming back to the values we learned as children. So take the time to teach and exemplify the values you have chosen for your life and then by word and example, let your children know how to find happiness in life through the application of fundamental human values.