I have been thinking a great deal lately about things that I learned from my dad. He taught me a lot about what it means to be a man who understands the power of commitment. There was never any doubt about his commitment to God, my mom, us kids, his church or his job. He took the commitments that he made very seriously and did not waver.
Do I ever recall my dad sitting down with me and saying, “Son, here are some things that I need to teach you”. No, that didn’t happen. But I picked up a lot of things from him about how to live my life as a man, a husband and a father. And now, as I reflect on my own experience, I remember having a few conversations with my son about growing up and what it means to be a man. But I didn’t go through a list of things to tell him about being a man.
If ever I were to create such a list of things to try to communicate father to son, It would have to include the following. Here is a good starter list of things a dad should teach his son. But like so many things like this. They are better caught than taught. So, Dads, live these things intentionally and your sons will catch them. Some are serious. Some are a little funny. But each one contains a nugget that is worthy of passing along to our sons.
- Pray and prepare yourself now to be the spiritual leader of your family some day.
- Take them to church. Don’t send them to church.
- Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody’s got to clean that up, you know. And it should probably be you!
- Don’t ever be a bully and don’t go and pick a fight, but if some knucklehead clocks you, you will not be in trouble for defending yourself or for defending someone weaker than you.
- Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and play by the rules. It may even give you a skill to teach your own son some day.
- “Yes ma’am” and “yes sir” still go a long way.
- Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.
- Don’t ever get too big for your britches. And remember where you came from.
- I passed along an honorable name to you. It is your job to keep it honorable.
- The reason that they are called “private parts” is because they are intended to be “private”. Please do not scratch them in public.
- When you start dating, remember that young woman in the car is precious and is somebody’s sister or daughter. You are responsible for her honor and reputation. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don’t take something away from her that you can’t give back.
- It is never too early to save money. Save money when you’re young because you’re going to need it someday.
- Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, the oven, the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, the dust mop and the broom. Get over yourself if you think that is “woman’s work”.
- BBQing meat is not the same thing as “cooking dinner”.
- Continue to pursue your wife long after you marry her. The way you treated her to get her interested in you is probably the way to treat her to keep her interested in you.
- Take pride in your appearance.
- Be strong and tender at the same time.
- A woman can do everything that you can do. And she can do it wearing high heels. Which is hard to do. Mutual respect for each others abilities and talents is the key to a good relationship.
- Peer pressure is a scary thing. So be a good leader and others will follow.
- Someday when you are a dad, take the kids to the park while she takes a bubble bath.
- It is better to be kind than to be right.
- A sense of humor goes a long way in the healing process.
- The best gift you can give your children is to love their mother. Your children should have no doubt about how much you love her.
- Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper of my access to you and to my grandchildren.
- Remember to call your mother every once in a while because I might be missing you.
I am sure there are other things that we need to teach our sons. But this is a good starting point, don’t you think?
What would you add to this list?