teachable moment

The Greatest Lesson I’ve Taught My Son

As parents, we often wonder what our children observe and learn from us. We strive to be good examples, say the right things, teach right from wrong, demonstrate our faith, and probably most importantly, let our actions speak louder than our words. Our kids learn most from what they see us do and whether our words and our actions align. [Tweet This]

Many times parents have told me they have no right to prevent their kids from doing something wrong because they know the parent has done the same thing. Irrespective, there can be an admission of the wrong, an explanation of why it was a mistake, and a teachable moment. But a lot of folks find it easier to just get along. Lesson learned but probably not the lesson that should be taught.

When I was asked to write about the greatest lesson I’ve taught my son, a lot of thoughts went through my mind. There have been a lot of teaching moments over the years. But none is more important than the ones that he remembers. So I asked him what was the greatest among them. His answer was surprising because it was introspective, deep and, at the same time, very organic. He didn’t respond with, “Oh, it was that time I got in trouble for…” He said I taught him the following words.

Sacrifice. Self Awareness. Selflessness. Service.  

He said that I taught him how fortunate we are as a family to be able to be in a position to serve others. He saw by example a servant’s heart. Serving others always has been part of our family DNA. We serve others not only during the holidays but year around. We serve our family. We serve strangers. We serve those who want to get better at what they do. There is always someone around, someone on the phone, someone in need. Just during the course of our everyday life, we try to serve others as a matter of family culture.

My son has picked up on this and, now as he is in college away from home, he sees it as the greatest lesson he has been taught. There was no one time that he was sat down and was told, “Son, let me tell you the greatest lesson you’ll ever learn is in five words—service, selflessness, sacrifice to others.” No, this wasn’t an “aha” moment. This was the accumulation of our words and deeds over the years, the gleanings of watching and listening and doing.

You see, we are a family of faith. The Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive and that faith is demonstrated by a person’s deeds. I am truly blessed that my son has learned this great lesson so early in his life. It is also a great blessing to see that he was taught by the sum of our words and deeds. There is a great lesson that your son is learning as well. He can see where your words and your actions intersect in life. It’s often when we are not even aware that the greatest lesson is being taught.

What is the greatest lesson you have taught your kids?

Troy Vincent
Troy Vincent

Highly respected by business, sports, political, and community leaders, Troy Vincent earned countless accolades including the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, NFL Players Association Byron Whizzer White Award, Sporting News #1 Good Guy, and NFL Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the greatest lesson I have taught you?”


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