being a good father

Being a Good Father Means Being a Good Model

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After a lifetime playing football and eight years in the NFL, I still get excited when the NFL season begins. Since retiring from the NFL, my passion has been working with kids. Being a former NFL player gives me an opportunity to influence their lives and I am always amazed and humbled by that. They look at us with wide eyes and a sense of awe. It reminds me of when I was their age. Back then, my favorite players were Randall Cunningham and Barry Sanders. I would watch them on TV and study how they moved. Then I would go outside with my football and mimic those moves, wanting to be like them.

Being a good father comes down to showing our kids how to live, love, think, and behave.

While I am passionate about working with kids, I am most passionate about my own. I have four and desire to instill in them the values that have made me who I am. We consistently talk about it, but nothing sinks in like modeling it well. They will copy what we do more than they do what we say. Being a good father comes down to showing our kids how to live, love, think, and behave. With that said, here are 3 things I am focusing on modeling to my kids right now.

1. Praying

I want to focus on God’s ways, not my own. Prayer is the biggest way to keep my heart and mind in the right place. Every night, I pray with my kids so they can see me do it. Even my two-year-old will watch me, fold her hands, close her eyes, and say a prayer. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. They get to hear what’s on my heart and I get to hear what’s on theirs.

2. Thinking for Yourself

One of the things I consistently say to my children is “use your own brain.” Do not be swayed by the crowd. Think deeply about what is right and do it. When you play in the NFL, there are a lot of external forces pushing you in various directions. It is an easy place to find trouble. Unfortunately, you see that happen in the media all the time. Keeping a sharp mind to what is right is important for maintaining integrity, especially when the gravity from the crowd is so strong.

3. Keeping Your Word

If you say you are going to do something, do it. It’s a simple concept, but practicing it takes commitment. The easiest way I can get off track with my kids is by telling them we are going to spend time together and then getting distracted with other things. That’s why when I get home, I tell myself, “Here I am.” The emphasis is on the word here, meaning I’m nowhere else—and that includes my mind. If I tell my kids I will play with them in two minutes and I’m not playing with them at minute 2:01, then I have not kept my word. If I don’t keep my word, they won’t keep theirs.

This post is by All Pro Dad NFL Spokesman Michael Robinson.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Better Role Models for Your Kids.

Sound off: Why do you think being a good father is important? 

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who is someone you look up to?”