Every great sporting team has a great foundation – they do the basics, well. Not some of the time – all the time.
Every good professional, say, an Accountant, understands the basics of the Accrual Accounting System and applies the principles consistently. Always. This allows for complete, timely, accurate, reliable data that when analysed with other information (past and present) allows for better decision making. For the future.
This helps build a great business.
In all of my body re-engineering programs, tailored for all individuals, I stress the importance of building a good foundation, encompassed in the first “A” of my “Triple A” to Life philosophy of self-development. The ‘A” I am referring to is: AWARENESS.
I stick to the basics and get my pupils to perform them properly all the time. Most of them do. Old school training with a modern twist.
In this phase of my life, I spend a lot more time with my two kids now then I used to. I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to share these years these formative years with them. To help them and funnily enough, they help me a lot too.
They help increase my awareness. Of myself. Of them. And of the external environment.
This increased awareness (thanks partly to them), has got me thinking about the importance of laying a great foundation for them. Just like a great building. To help them build the loftiest buildings in the universe: their young minds and hearts, which are learning at super-speed, trying to make sense of their lives and learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.
This, I believe is the most important foundation each and every dad out there can help lay in their children: to build the greatest building (positive influence) in their hearts and minds and trying to make the world a better place.
Part of this laying of the foundation for them is to give them a clear understanding of one of the all-time great truths: that life is difficult and often unfair. Whether we like it or not, our sons and daughters may experience doubts, discouragement, loneliness, disappointment. Failure. They may be betrayed by a friend, not succeed in getting in to the university or profession of choice. Be dumped by their girlfriend or boyfriend.
Just like you, I know I will feel the hurt in their hearts too …
But this is all part of building a great foundation. You see, as I see it, we should not go out of our way to look for pain but we should certainly avoid pain when we can (with one exception when you’re in the gym feeling the ‘pump’ in your working muscles).
We should not just explain away moments like these – these trials and tribulations they may likely experience. They are an essential part of foundation building for a great building that they will call ‘their life’. These trials represents the capacity to build strength, maturity, courage and genuine, authentic love. It builds perseverance and resilience.
My role as a parent is relatively new. I am still learning. I know one thing, though is that as a parent, the better we get at seeing our children through these difficult times, through these trials, the better the bond. These trials will help us identify what they can do in our lives and our children’s lives, the better able we’ll be to provide stability, calmness, assurance and genuine love to our children. Even in the midst of a storm. Their trying times.
As a parent I know I have made mistakes along the way, so far. But I embrace the role with all my heart, mind and soul. Every experienced parent understands that bad behaviour in a child rarely happens with no previous signals, incidents. There are usually early signs. We just have to be aware.
I still remember hearing my grandfather say to my grandmother when referring to a relative of mine when I was a child, “be careful, you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile”.
So true, when you’re a parent.
As a parent you need to stay alert. You’re forced to increase awareness. To notice behavioural changes early and be ready to intervene in time to prevent the youngster from skidding in to serious dangerous waters ….
It is essentially ‘risk management’ and depending on the incident, an appropriate assessment of the behaviour needs to be made as to the short-term and long-term risks. Appropriate ‘intervention controls’ need to be implemented to mitigate the likely consequences likely to happen if not addressed.
Simple? Not quiet. But you have to try as a parent.
I believe, a parent’s wisdom in controlling their youngster(s) is one of the best measures of how much you really love and value her or him. The child knows this whether they say anything or not. I know my daughter does. The young boy or girl understands that his or her mother should have a hand in controlling her too. Matter of fact, both parents need to play this role – in equal share.
Children learn so much from their parents. I have found that I needed to improve my own personal standards when my children appears on the scene. Your personal examples are important and so are your rules. My wife and I have established a few rules already in our household. I get caught out sometimes, when my daughter notices ‘double standards’ in what I tell them to do and what I do. For example, I always say that a shirt has to be worn whenever we are seated at the table for a meal.
Sometimes … I get reminded by her. “Dad, aren’t you forgetting something?”
“And what would that be, young lady?” I would reply.
“Your shirt”, she would state matter-of-factly.
This little point makes me think of the bigger message. The message is that – you won’t be able to sell your children any double standards on the important issues in life.
And you shouldn’t.
I have concluded that they will most likely follow what I DO and what I BELIEVE than what I SAY ABOUT these issues.
Stop trying to be the BEST DAD in the world. Be the best dad you CAN BE. Be YOURSELF. That is all your daughter or son NEEDS: the REAL YOU.
Their REAL FATHER.
You see your children does not need to believe that you are the wisest man in the world or the strongest, to count you as their father. No.
I believe that the REAL FATHER they NEED is a MAN who they can approach for answers on the important questions in life. They also need to see that you are still a ‘work-in-progress’ but that you still have the hunger to learn and grow too.
That you make mistakes too. And its ok.
They need to see that you are not narrow-minded and ‘set in your ways’. They NEED to see that you are not afraid to learn and embrace new ideas, new concepts, new paradigms, new philosophies.
Summed up in my “third A” to my “Triple A to Life”:
Be the best parent you can be.
Until next time,