I cannot teach that which I do not have within. I am grateful I have the chance to be a parent within the next month. I know almost nothing about parenting except this:
If I want to teach my child something, I must lead by example. I must have what I want to teach my child to give it to her.
If I want to show her patience, I must have patience. If I want to show her love, I must have love. If I want to teach her how to be a good person, I must lead by example in everything I do. If I am going to teach my daughter how to live a happy life of service, I must show that I am doing it myself.
I cannot use ‘do as I say, not as I do’ or ‘because I said so’ in any instance. My daughter must see what I’m doing. If she has the desire to follow me and to have what I have, she can do that. If she doesn’t, then she won’t. That’s the one thing I know about parenting. I cannot give my daughter something I do not have myself.
If I want to show my daughter how to live a life or happiness and respect, I must respect myself. I must by happy myself. If I tell my daughter to live a good life but it doesn’t match what I do, then I’m teaching her lying. That’s the real lesson I teach. If I tell my daughter to treat people with respect but she sees dad tearing people down, she learns lying. She learns lying from her dad and I don’t want to teach my daughter lying.
When she asks me difficult questions I must give her honest answers regardless of how I want to protect her from the world. I want to give her the most I can give her at all times. I can see how you might not want to explain death or dying to your child when they are young. If you avoid it, you teach them avoidance. If you tell your child their dog ran away, you’re teaching them avoidance. you’re teaching them by what you’re doing.
I’m grateful my parents taught me a lot of good things like leading by example. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your child to have a better life than you had. The trick is you must live life from the point where you can be better for your child. You can’t live a miserable awful existence and tell your child something besides that.
If you’re struggling, if you’re having a hard time, if you’re in sync with life. If you’re in a place where you’re living a life that’s miserable. Your child will learn that misery. Your child will learn that from the minute they come out of the womb. I’m lucky enough that I remember learning from my parents. The most powerful things I learned from my parents were what they did. What they did was what I learned.
My mom worked hard and I remember that, I learned that. I know how to work hard. My mom worked hard, I saw how to work hard. My dad worked hard to raise my brother and I. I learned that.
When I wanted to learn things my parents didn’t have, I found mentors. There were lots of areas my parents wanted me to do better in. They did not have the ability to lead by example in those areas. I got help with those things. I found people that could help me by leading by example in those areas.
Anything I want to teach my child, I must have it myself and that motivates me to do better myself. I realize if I want to teach my child how to have a clean place to live, then I must have a clean place to live. If I want to show my daughter how to keep a clean home, I must change the sheets. I must clean up after things more regular than I have been doing. That motivates me.
I am motivated to do my best and to be the best person I can be because my daughter will be learning. She may already be learning even though she’s not born. She will be watching me and my wife every second of every day that she sees us. She will be learning from us. As children learn from parents, they do things the parent love and hate about themselves. When you love your child more than anything, yet your child drives you insane. more than anything in the world because the child is like a mirror. The child is like a blank slate.
The child will mirror back to you what you show the child. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to work on myself before I had children. If I would’ve been a parent anytime before now I would’ve shown my child insanity. I would’ve shown them hypocrisy. That’s what I would’ve taught my daughter. I’m grateful to have had the chance to show my daughter love and respect for herself. I’m grateful to learn these from great mentors, including my parents.
The child might not be ready to take every lesson all at once. At first, the child is likely to mirror the parent. They will also have outside influence from friends, siblings, TV shows, and video games. The child has other things they can learn there, too. To be a parent is to put another version of yourself out into the world. I can’t control all the things she learns from everywhere. All I can do is lead by example. That means all I can do is take care of myself and that is a helpful thing for me to remember. The most helpful thing I can do for my daughter is take care of myself.
It’s all these things you see make parenting so complicated. You have to do certain things for your child and you have to be a certain way. It’s simple. All I have to do is do the best and take the best care of myself. Have the things I want to teach my child and then do my best each moment. Do the right thing each moment.
I’m grateful I have enough patience. For the first time in my life, I have enough patience to be a parent. I want to teach my child patience. That’s one of the things I had a hard time with growing up. I want my child to have the chance to learn patience from me. If she doesn’t learn it, that’s not up to me. All I can do is lead by example.
The nice things to know is that, I cannot do a good job for my child if I can’t do a good job for myself. If dad’s lonely. If dad’s angry. If dad’s going to be a bad parent. Dad is not going to do a good job at being a parent if dad’s not taking care of himself. It’s simple for me. I take care of myself first. I’m there to support and love my wife second. Through our team, each of us taking care of ourselves and each other, then we can be the best parents possible.
A lot of times my parents put my brother and I first. They said we were more important than their marriage. We were more important than their self. The problem was that took a toll on each of them over time. Both of them had to learn to take better care of themselves over the course of being my parent. Both of them struggled a lot with taking care of themselves and loving themselves. By putting us first, what they showed us was not taking care of themselves. Then what they showed us was learning to take care of yourself. It’s just like the oxygen masks when plan drops down and you need oxygen masks. They tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first. You don’t put your child’s oxygen mask on first or your spouse’s oxygen mask on first. You put your oxygen mask on.
That applies to everything in life. Asking yourself have you eaten lately is always a good question. Asking how are you feeling right now. If you’re angry, you need to fix that. I don’t need to do anything else. I need to pray to not be angry. If I’m mad, I need to pray to have love and understanding. That’s what I do.
The other night, I got angry for about thirty minutes and I prayed for it to go away. It hurt while it was there and it was gone in thirty minutes. If I’m angry, I’m not going to be a good parent. If I’m angry, I might need to give myself some space as a parent. I would have to get not angry and go back. I’m not likely to be a good parent if I’m not taking care of myself.
It’s nice to know that the only thing I need to do as a parent is to take good care of myself. Everything will follow from there. I will be a good husband. I will be the best parent I can be. If I’m not leading by example, there’s no possible way I can be the best parent I can be.
I pray today that I do the best work I can to prepare to be a parent and learn more about how I can love myself. I pray that in taking good care of myself that it’s the best thing I can do to be loving to my wife. I pray that when I love myself, I will have the ability to give that knowledge to anyone else in my life. I pray that you have the chance to take from me whatever you need to be the best person you can be today.
Thank you for being here with me. I always ask for your help to help me make these as good as possible. Thank you and I hope you have a great day today.