It is an oft-stated observation that even though your children have grown into adulthood, you will never stop being a father to them. Fathers now become advice-givers, helpers, or even friends with their children. I have found this more or less to be true for myself — except for the part about my kids listening to my good advice!
However, there’s one part I didn’t expect — that my children continued to “watch and learn” from me. I discovered that I remained a role model. While it was easy to embrace the other parts of being a father of grown children, continuing to be a role model was unsettling.
Like it or not, how I treat their mother, set my priorities, care for myself, conduct my work, and care for my parents continues to shape their values.
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• Think back to your own father. How did your father change when you and your siblings became adults? Were you impressed or disappointed? What kind of model was he for you — one to avoid or imitate?
• It is the everyday small stuff that is the main ingredient of how your children know you. Are you always honest? Do you admit when you are wrong? Are you respectful of others? Are you humble? Self-controlled?
• It can be hard to be honest with ourselves about how our children see us. Consider asking your spouse or a good friend what they see. Do your children see someone they would be proud to call their father?