My friend just lost her father. That has to be a hard experience, the death of your dad. When she had the clarity of mind she took to social media, like many of us would, and shared about her father. She wrote of how he was humble, kind and gracious. She continues to write about how her parents taught her the true values of life and to treat others as she would want to be treated. Her honest words made me think.
When you die, what is going to be your legacy as a father?
As heartwarming as my friends words are many of us haven’t thought about what lasting impressions we will leave on our children. Some of us are just trying to put on a diaper without getting messy. But we need to be conscious about what values we will instill in our children so that when they grow up and when we pass, our children will be amazing people.
As dads, our children watch us all the time. My son picks up on my mannerisms and vocabulary. Fortunately most of them have been good! When we think they’re not looking is when children give us the most attention. So what will you teach your children in those subtle moments of fatherhood?
If you work all the time, it can be hard for a small child to understand that’s how you support the family. All they know is that you are gone and when you come home you are stressed and tired. This might lead them to think that working isn’t a good thing. If you are a workaholic like I have been, spending additional time away from your family isn’t good for anyone. When you die, don’t leave your children to say, “He was dedicated to his job.”
Going to a bar or pub every once in a while isn’t a bad thing. You need to be with adults and get out of the house. But if you change personalities when you drink or you drink too much, you may be harming more than just yourself. Alcohol abuse fractures families. Under the heavy influence of it calm men can become violent and attentive men become thoughtless. Don’t let your obituary read, “He was a good man, but bourbon made him mean.”
You may be faithful to be at church every Sunday. The whole family may go with you. But if one day a week is when your children hear you talk about God, then are you doing them any good? Live out your faith with your children. Let them see why you love God and live a worthy life. Don’t leave your kids to say when you’re gone, “He went to church, but I don’t know if he’s in heaven.”
The good news is that your legacy doesn't have to start when you stop. Your legacy can be built and strengthened everyday. Don't let this time to influence your children pass you by. Today, begin to live out your legacy as a father.
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