My dad passed away on April 15, 2004, just a few weeks before I graduated from high school. He was a good man who worked hard all his life. I didn’t live with him day-to-day because my parents divorced when I was two, but our relationship was as close as it could be without living in close proximity. As I think about him, there are things I wish my father taught me.
Over the years, some incredible men have poured into me and have helped me navigate life. As I reflect on the things I want my boys to know as they grow up, I can’t help but think about the things I wish my dad had said. Here are 5 things I wish my father taught me that I will be sure to teach my boys.
1. I wish my dad taught me about sex and dating.
We never talked about it, ever. But if we had, I probably would not have made as many mistakes with girls as I did growing up. I probably wouldn’t have struggled with pornography. I wish my dad would have taught me about taking care of a woman’s heart instead of just using her body. As I think about the men I want my boys to become, I want to make sure I teach them the things I have had to learn on my own. I want to make sure they know how amazing sex can be and that God designed it for our pleasure within marriage. I want to make sure they know purity is not just about waiting for marriage; it’s about keeping your whole life pure.
2. I wish my dad taught me how to cook.
Growing up, we ate out every single meal. I am not sure I ever saw my dad turn on the stove. He never showed me how to balance food, and honestly, I’m not sure he knew how. Early in my childhood, I started overeating. I started ordering full value meals in second grade. To this day, I still struggle with my eating habits. I not only want to teach my kids what healthy eating means, but I want to show them how to do it. I love to grill, smoke brisket, and try new recipes in the kitchen. I want my kids to learn how, too. I want them to be healthy and not struggle as I have for most of my life.
3. I wish my dad taught me that I don’t need approval from others.
This is true in two parts. First, I wish my dad showed me approval beyond my performance. The only time I was praised was when I did something he liked. Because of this, I grew up seeking his approval and now I struggle with seeking the approval of others. I wish my dad taught me that I don’t need this kind of approval. I want my boys to know there is nothing they can do to cause me to love them more or less. I want to teach them that confidence isn’t built in the eyes watching from the outside; it comes from the heart of a man, on the inside. What people think and say about us changes but I believe that what God says about us doesn’t change. I have come to know that what God thinks of me is most important. It took me a long time to learn that and it’s what I’m teaching my sons. What are you teaching yours?
4. I wish my dad taught me how to manage my time.
My dad was always late. He wasn’t the greatest example of managing time. So, for most of my life, I also have struggled with managing my time and productivity. I have had to learn some hard lessons throughout the years about this. So they don’t have to learn the hard way, too, I want to teach my boys the value of a schedule, being on time, and keeping your word.
5. I wish my dad taught me moderation.
Like many men, my dad had his vices. He struggled with alcohol abuse and if he was into a new hobby, he went all in. Once, I noticed four brand new putters in his golf bag. He bought them all because he wasn’t sure which he liked best. He had an addictive personality and I have found myself struggling with the same thing. I can’t just have one fishing pole; I need 20 and I need the best ones. I know a lot of guys are in the same boat but I want my sons to understand the importance of moderation.Moderation is key to balance and stability.
Moderation is key to balance and stability. I have had to learn this over the years and struggle with some personal and financial problems as a result of not knowing moderation. I am still working on this, but I’ve also found one of the best ways to teach moderation is to practice moderation in my own life. Your kids are watching you and learning from your actions. We must set a good example of moderation in all areas.
Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 13 Things to Teach Your Son Before 13.
Sound off: What lessons did you have to learn on your own that you wish your dad taught you?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you want me to teach you?”