You are the hidden Role model who will inspire a Generation.
It's not politicians, movies, media or music who will have the most impact on the next generation, its us.
When you think of a role model, what do you think of? Sports or Movie stars? I understand, but I challenge that, I believe that both of these have influence due to media exposure but they are only role modelling how to play sport, act a role well, sacrifice or working hard to reach a goal. I don’t believe that they are total life role models.
You are the real total life role model. You are the most genuine complete picture of an adult, along with your wife, that your kids will ever see. Your kids see every part of your life, the good and the bad, the kind and the mad. You are the total picture, not a carefully sculpted social media image. And your kids are in your school of life everyday. Your example, how you do life everyday, is the silent teacher, the lesson, the model that your kids will models their lives after.
Right now you are being a role model, you are a role modelling:
How to treat others
How to treat yourself
How to work
How to respond to authority
What to do when things go well and what to do when things go poorly
What type of physical condition we should live in
How to have a great attitude or how to have a bad attitude
What is important or what is not important
How to be treated by others
How to dig deep or to give up
To play by the rules or to bend the rules
How to love and be loved.
So what kind of role model do you want to be and what kind of role model are you being right now? What great things are you carrying through from your parents and which of these do you want to make sure that you don’t carry on?
Here is my two step journey of how to be an exceptional role model:
1/ understanding what you role modelling
2/ developing your life to be an exceptional role model.
1/ What kind of role model are you now? What is the picture you are transmitting to your kids?
This is a great opportunity to look at yourself and ask the question: Do I want my kids to imitate me?
This is hard because it’s about turning the spotlight on your life. Take the time to ask yourself the questions below:
7 Questions to ask yourself to determine what kind of role model you are:
You can also fill out your questions here:
1/ What are the three greatest things that I do that makes me a great role model?
2/ What are the three behaviours that I hope my kids don’t imitate?
3/ What are the three most important things that I want to role model to my kids?
4/ What are the three things that I would love to be better at as a role model?
5/ What behaviours and habits that I inherited from parents that I would want to change for my children ie- fear, anger, worry, poor money management
6/ How do you role model being a good Dad?
7/ How do you role model being a good Man?
2/ 10 Keys how to develop into an exceptional Role Model
Role model being an individual
Be your best you. Be authentic. Don’t try and be someone else. Work to your strengths, the positives in your life that come naturally. Be weird if you are weird, embracing that its ‘ok being yourself’ is one of the biggest lessons that you can give them.
Treat other people well
How do you treat your wife, your kids, your neighbours and the people that you can get nothing from? Your example will be copied by your kids, think of the number of people they will impact throughout their lives positively by following your great example of ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’.
Role model how to deal with weaknesses
What are your blind spots, your work ons? Take one or two of these and start working on them. Be open and honest about these with your kids. Everyone has issues and you are role-modelling working through yours. It's great to talk to the kids and say ‘I’m sorry that I got angry, thats an area that I’m working on’.
Role model grit through difficult opportunities
Difficulties can be a gift. A gift to role-model how to dig deep, how to persevere. When the next hard situation arises, take a moment and a deep breath and think ‘what do I need to do to make the best of this situation and work towards the solution?’. Your attitude will hinge on being problem or solution orientated and your kids will be watching how you react.
Role model community and establish your culture
Who are your friends? Are they a positive, negative or a neutral influence? How do you treat them and how do they treat you? When I started Nordic ski racing it wasn’t long before I started wearing very revealing full body lycra race suits like all the other ski racers. We become like who we hang around. Create or find a great community that is a healthy, encouraging place for you and your family and that teaches them to create their own great communities. We are part of a great church that treasures and teaches family skills. Where is somewhere that you can find a great family culture? Local school, sports club, community group or church.
Role model being the best you, not perfect.
Being a role model is not being perfect. There is no such human. The stories of the greatest heroes are full of failure and getting it wrong on the way to getting it right. It's really important to show kids that failure is part of the journey of learning so that when they fall short, they don’t get so discouraged that they won’t try again. Life is full of Wins and Lessons.
Find an excellent Role model
Find a positive role model that you can look to. If you can find a Dad further on in life (this doesn’t have to be just in age) that you admire, try and spend time around this person. I love reading biographies and autobiographies, find stories of amazing people and learn the key lessons from their lives (this is where the sports stars come in). I was inspired to dig deep from Bear Grylls, Blood Sweat and Tears autobiographical book of qualifying for the SAS.
Narrate life as it happens
‘If you want a friend be a friend’. Tell your kids stories from your life; ‘I remember when I turned up to school on my first day.... My cousin Henry came and sat with me when I was alone... Give your kids your mantras and stories from your past of lessons, wins and losses. Your wisdom, beliefs, values and perspective will help your kids to understand how to think about life.
Do what you say you will
Be a man of your word. Your kids will always know that you are reliable and to be trusted. This will form integrity in your kids and they will grow to act the same. The best friends, bosses, employees and people have this going on.
Work out what you believe
What are your values and your beliefs? What is important to you in life? What do you believe about how the world came into being and what happens after we die. All of these beliefs influence how you do life right now. My faith steers a large portion of my parenting; how I treat others, how I parent, how I feel about myself day to day, I’m so thankful for it and the direction it gives me.
So Dads, define and mould the next generation by the excellent example you will be to your kids now. The future of our country is in your hands.