One thing that I love about children is their innocence and their carefree attitude in the world. They run, they play, they eat and they sleep without worrying about the serious matters in life, as they should. If we as parents left it up to our children, they would opt to eat snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, stay up all night watching television, or spending lavishly on toys, video games, or whatever pleasantries that come into their creative little minds. What’s worse is they will carry on this same careless behavior at school, work and into their future relationships. As parents, however it is our jobs to prepare them for the reality of the world that they soon will be stepping into.
Teaching your child discipline will not only make your life as a parent easier, but it will have a greater impact on your child’s future and their relationship with the world. A child’s mind is full of ideas and creativity, all they need is someone to help them focus their energy in a particular area so that they’ll soon learn to master their craft. When I was growing up I loved all sports and excelled at every sport I tried. The only problem was my parents never fully paid attention to my talent and never helped me hone in on my skills. My skills grew simply from playing in the courtyard or at the park with the neighborhood kids by my own initiative.
What I needed was some 1-on-1 coaching or a team to be a part of so that I could further enhance my skills. I needed a schedule that would hold me accountable for making it on time to practices, games, etc. I needed a crowd to showcase my skills in front of and entertain on a high octane level. I needed a uniform that symbolized how serious I was about my craft and how dedicated I was towards my discipline. Now, I know my parents weren’t very interested in sports, but it would’ve been great to have been pushed in a direction where I could be led my someone who was.
My mother was a very strong woman, and to this day I don’t know how she managed to raise 5 boys and 1 girl. We were well mannered, respectful towards adults and we stayed in a child’s place because that’s what we were taught to do. We knew that if we did something outside of our home that we never would dare to do at our own home that their would be consequences. We knew better and we had no excuse to act outside of our character and embarrass our family. We were disciplined early on so that we would know how to carry ourselves later on in life.
When you’re a child, you don’t always appreciate the endless commands and demands of a parent, but as you put them into practice in your adult life, it’s our parents that we have to thank. I remember starting back when I was only 5 years old, my mom would have me and my brothers doing literally everything. It made sense though, why should she do all of the work when she had all of these strong/healthy boys she could delegate the tasks to. She was training us to be better men, better brothers, and soon suitable husbands and fathers. and she didn’t take it easy on us at all when it came to our chores.
My mom would have us sorting laundry, washing/drying clothes, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, cleaning out the refrigerator, cleaning the oven, cook and so many other tedious tasks. I thank my mother for giving us this work to do because as an adult, I can do all of those things with ease, and I don’t look to a woman to do it for me. She never told us why she was making us do all of this work, but she knew what it would do for our character. If that’s not wisdom, I don’t know what is. She was aware of the impact it would later have on our lives as men, and she took the time to pay it forward.
We hated doing all of these chores, but they were extremely necessary. No matter how much we wined, cried, or complained, my mother followed through with her commands and saw to it that we got the job done. That’s the kind of discipline a child needs; a child doesn’t need you to be their best friend. A child needs you to be their best parent. They look up to you for protection, guidance, discipline and love and as their parent, you should not want to disappoint.
No matter how old your child gets, you will always be his/her father. Don’t ever think that because you wear the same sized clothes, are old enough to partake in the same activities, and share common interest that you are equals. There needs to be a certain level of respect and reverence between you and your child to forever ingrain in their minds that you are the father, and they are the child. A classic example of a lack of reverence is the popular animation The Simpsons, Bart refers to his father by his first name Homer. The lack of respect is reciprocal as we constantly see Homer strangling Bart anytime he feels offended by his son.
There’s nothing wrong with hanging out with your child as adults, just so long as they still know their place. Their place is to remember who you are to them and who they are to you, and to never do anything to jeopardize the sanctity of that relationship. Many parents miss the opportunity to establish their position as an authoritative figure because they wait too long. A baby is learning the ways of the world long before they even come out of the womb. Once they enter into the world, their senses only grow stronger. Too often do parents allow their children to get stuck in their ways before they lay down rules and regulations.
The sky is the limit in life, but if your child knows no boundaries, they will never reach your fullest potential. A parents’ job is to make their child aware of the consequences associated with not following the rules. Being careless in the home could land them on punishment, but being careless in the real world could land them in far worse trouble. Society relies on our parenting skills to raise our children and prepare them to abide by the law. School is merely a secondary teaching source that is offered to those who wish to advance themselves.
Without discipline at home, a child literally won’t know how to act, and when they don’t know how to act they won’t be able to adjust to different environments. This can cause esteem and confidence issues which can effect their performance at school, work and certainly in life. One of the things that happens when a child doesn’t feel good about themselves is they search for ways to prove their worth. Sometimes this can result in a positive and extraordinary display of gifts & talents, and sometimes can result in a waste of gifts and talents. Every child wants to do well in life, but they need your help.
As a man, your role is extremely significant because you’re in the leadership position and most children aspire to be just like their father. That puts you in a powerful position because most of your teachings will come through actions rather than words. Your child wants to study your every move and get set in a routine that they can follow. When they talk about their father, they don’t want to have to make up a bogus story, no they want to be able to say “My father was a family man, worked hard everyday, provided for his family, and made time for the people he loved”. When a child sees that your disciplined, they will model after you.
When you have that conversation about the importance of education, it will hold more weight when you have gotten your education. When you give your child advice on relationships, it will hold more weight when you have proven to have had success in your relationship. When you give your child advice on money management, it will have more credibility when you have managed your accounts properly and have the means to show for it. When you instruct your child that reading is fundamental, it will help if you can be seen engaging in new reading material on a regular basis. Pulling the “I’m your father, do what I say” card is easy; lets put that card away and start using “Follow the leader”.
The goal is to make your child better than you could ever be. A great start would be to aspire to be more than the man you currently are so that your child will constantly aim higher and work harder to achieve their goals. My 6 year old son Ethan melts my heart when he speaks to other people about me; he’s so innocent, so honest and transparent, and that could make or break a parent. I’m sure you can recall a time in your life when your mom or dad said “Don’t go telling our family business”. Instead, I try and teach my son the power of words, how to use them and how to deliver a message in as few words as possible.
I don’t expect my son to be anything like me, no I expect my son to be far better. I didn’t have a father who taught me things, pushed me to the limit, and provided me with the resources I needed to excel. I didn’t have a father who I had had to answer to when I got myself into trouble at school. I didn’t have a father to check my homework, help improve my reading or public speaking abilities. I didn’t have a father who hoped for the best for me and exhausted every resource in his power to help me reach the next level. But Ethan has that and he has a father who won’t allow him to make any excuses for being anything but great!
Your child will get tired of you giving them instructions, tired of you pushing them in different directions, and tired of you making executive decisions, but you know better. They will get tired of reading, tired of writing, tired of speaking, tired of dancing, and tiring of performing, but you know better. They will get tired of being denied access to their friends, tired of not being allowed to play video games, and tired of being denied junk food, but you know better. They will get tired of you dragging them to church, tired of you not allowing them to party, and tired of you and your network of industry professionals, but you know better.
For many, it takes years to truly appreciate everything a parent has done for their child, but the day will come. After training up a child, you have to learn to let go and let them find their own way. Trust that all of the morals, values and principles that you’ve instilled in them since birth with forever be in their hearts, minds and spirits. Everything they do will be a reflection of you and everything you stand for. Use your position as a parent to discipline your child and build up strong men and women who will too inspire growth and change in the world.
The proof of your success as a parent will come when your child has become a fully functioning member of society. After seeing your son/daughter in action, you can stand proud knowing that your efforts did not go to waste. They will practice firm leadership and treat everyone with love, dignity and respect as their father has done with them. They will manage money properly, be charitable and spend wisely as their father once did in their household. They will show extreme discipline and focus in their fields of expertise and excel just as their father did in school, work and in life. Disciplining your child starts with you.
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