Each morning, I take a few minutes to write a paragraph about someone or something I am grateful for in my life. Recently, I wrote about how grateful I am to be a father. I asked myself how I could be a better father and what my children should expect of me. It occurred to me that I had not been intentional about the values and qualities of character I most desired to develop in my children. So I started writing and came up with 11 values and qualities that resonated with me. My reason for sharing these qualities with you is in hopes of inspiring you to take the time to write down the qualities of character you most hope to inspire in your children. The next level is to intentionally role model those qualities every day for your children.
I want my daughters to have a big heart and a strong desire to help others. The essence of kindness is generosity toward others. I want their kindness to shine through in every action they take.
I want my daughters to believe in themselves. I believe this to be especially important for girls. Society seems to be one big judgment machine and without a strong sense of self, they can easily be crushed under its pressure. When they are confident in who they are, they will not obsess over the opinions of others but always seek the truth. This is my hope for them.
Living a life that matters takes effort. Effort equals work. To create anything of value takes time and effort. Persistence is critical to value creation and maximum contribution.
Self-reflection is difficult because our ego gets in the way of an honest assessment. It requires that we point the finger at ourselves. We also call this self-awareness. A key question for them to be asking themselves is "How am I showing up?". Add kindness to this and the question becomes "How am I showing up for others?".
They should understand money and the importance of thrift in its use. Saving is way more important than spending. Others will most likely tease them about their strong desire to save, but they will stay the course. Thrift throughout life can help ensure their long-term independence and improve their ability to contribute at a higher level later in life!
I want them to begin each day with gratitude for what they have in their lives to help set their intention for the day. When we are appreciative of the blessings in our lives, it will help to eliminate envy, jealousy, spite, discontent, greed, and other poisonous emotions. They should also give gratitude freely, and understand that offering gratitude to others takes nothing from them and ultimately makes the world a better place.
My hope for my daughters is that they have a strong desire to learn and grow. Ignorance is not bliss. Seeking wisdom each day will keep them progressing in their lives and allow them to avoid wasting countless hours on social media obsessing over the lives of others instead of focusing on bettering their own.
In true friendship, we demonstrate love, kindness, gratitude, and growth. I want my daughters to build their friendships on a strong foundation of mutual respect. Too often we mistake friendship with "commiserationships", which are built on a shallow foundation that often crumbles when challenged or when a disagreement arises. Run from commiserationships because they serve no one except the egos of those commiserating. Seek positive and meaningful friendships in all areas of your life.
I want my daughters to think on their own. They take in the words of others without rebuttal, process without judgment, and conclude on their own evaluation. Their actions and beliefs are the product of their own conclusion.
To bring the most of who they are to the world, they should feel great mentally and physically. I want to teach them the importance of diet and exercise. Moderation in all things. They should also be able to regulate their mental health through regular meditation and not obsessing over their thoughts. In other words, diminishing the ego by paying attention to their thoughts and recognizing that these are only thoughts and not necessarily reality. Our minds trick us far more frequently than people.
Success and happiness are one and the same and not mutually exclusive. I want my daughters to recognize that happiness is a choice independent of their circumstances. The pursuit of success at the expense of happiness will lead to depression and dissatisfaction. Success and happiness should be parallel paths through the journey of life.
My challenge to you right now is to grab a pen and paper. Write down the values and qualities of character you desire most to instill in your children, marriage, community, church, and friendships. If we are all more intentional with how we serve as parents, in our relationships, and in our communities, the world will be better for it!