• pen/pencil and paper (or you could type it on the computer if that’s more your style)
• and some personal quiet time/space where you can think and won’t be interrupted.
Fathers: Write down the character traits that you want your son(s) to have when they are grown men.
If you only have daughters, then write down the character traits that you want your son(s)-in-law to have.
Mothers: Write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s) to have when they are grown women.
If you only have sons, then write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s)-in-law to have.
Be specific, but only things related to character.
For instance, “successful” is not specific or character related, however, “being compassionate” is.
Still in in your personal quiet spot, assess your own life.
Look at the list and circle the character traits you have in yourself.
Are you modeling the character traits you want your child(ren) to have?
If we don’t have these character traits in ourselves
and aren’t modeling them in our own lives,
how in the world are our children going to learn them from us.
Positive character traits don’t typically come naturally or “just happen”.
They take hard work.
In case you’re feeling like a failure at this moment,
as I was when I did this… stop that!
Pity parties and regret won’t help you get to where you want/need to be!
Maybe you haven’t ever really thought about all of this.
Maybe you’re just doing what you learned from your parents…
Maybe you aren’t doing everything you can/should be doing…
but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure…
It means you have a choice to make!
You see, we all come from imperfect families
lead by imperfect parents.
They didn’t do things “exactly right” and
we are molded and shaped by that and other factors.
It shaped who we became…
But WE choose who we will be from this moment on.
We choose if we will stay a victim to our past
or move on toward learning how to thrive.
We choose, each day, one little choice at a time
whether we are going to stay in our old ruts
or start to move out of them…
sometimes in one big “if I don’t do it quick it will never happen” jump.
This seemingly simple challenge was to attempt to help us see objectively,
without us getting defensive,
how we are doing at setting a good example for our child(ren).
Each one of us wants our child(ren) to grow up
to be the very best they can be,
to achieve the goals that we know they are capable of,
to strive for personal success,
to be better than we are.
We teach, we train, we guide,
we speak words of wisdom and truth endlessly to them.
We pray over them.
We cry over them.
We have dreams for them.
We correct, encourage, and challenge them
to be better today than they were yesterday.
It’s our heart’s desire for them to not just live,
but to thrive as adults.
But, often something huge gets in the way… us!
Like our parents before us,
we’re not perfect parents.
We don’t do everything right.
We don’t always set a good example
of what we want our child(ren) to be/do.
But we don’t have to stay where we were…
we can grow and mature and learn to thrive, too.
My hope, and prayer,
is that each one of you reading this
makes a choice to live today better than you lived yesterday.
That the excuses and blame-game
and whatever else is holding you back
from becoming the person YOU were created to be…
will no longer have a hold on you.
You choose who you are going to be from this day forward.
No one else.
Now get out there and make your life what it should be!