Modeling a moral compass

Who hasn’t heard “put your money where your mouth is “or “you talk the talk but can you walk the walk “? This is where we get deep into the fact that our lives are a work in progress to our colleagues and peers but they are a model to our children and kids in our community. We often get caught off guard when we are in familiar company and we find ourselves having conversations where we say something we wish we hadn’t or that someone hadn’t heard, for example when you’re explaining to a friend of yours that you didn’t think the other team was playing fairly and that’s what led to them winning, when on the other hand you told your child that you can’t win them all. It sends a message to your child that can often leave them confused. There is almost always an opportunity in life to model decent behavior, but conversely there are equal opportunities where we are realizing that we are in fact modeling behavior that might be less than savory. This is just the human condition in general, and it’s hard to constantly be aware of every moment of every day and every move that we make. This might be a good time for us to take some stock in where we are in life and where we believe we are headed.

Am I dating myself by saying that I remember in Rocky and Bullwinkle where they had Asope Fables and at the end they were talk about what the moral of the story was??!! There is of course a moral waiting for us to explain as we go through life in often difficult times and difficult situations because now with the birth of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc. we are being broadcast 24 seven. By this I mean (full disclosure!) I was getting out of the shower while my son was using FaceTime to talk to his friends. He had his phone propped up so he didn’t have to hold it and I walked into his room having only a robe and realize that I was on display in front of all of his friends… Which made me a little upset and some choice things came out of my mouth… this was not my sons fault, this was my inability to get used to the fact that this is how kids play when the weather is bad. They play video games while FaceTimeing each other… This was a very shining example of how not to model behavior on my part.

There are 5 types of dad according to the national fatherhood initiative. They are:

Dictator, King, Joker, Follower, and Dreamer.

Each one of these styles varies subtly and in some cases they are an about face. It is someone important for you to do some self reflection to try and see which one of these categories you might fall into or relate to the closest. This is a way to gauge not only your particular style but also maybe perhaps understand that your style, while it is your own, emanates from something that has been extensively studied and thus understood. Having no training at all you still project characteristics from each of these carefully studied styles that were most likely passed on to you by your own father and your own experience. The reason why it’s important to identify what these styles are is because they enable you to be empowered by the information you glean from it. Or to say it another way, if you find out that you tend to be more of the follower then everything that you learn about being the follower style of dad as it applies to you enables you to have a much clearer appreciation of the pros and cons of that particular style. Another side to this coin is, by understanding that there are different styles it could help you mold an ideal style to call your own, or perhaps help to explain some of the methodologies in the context that relates to your situation. There are some dads that are very dialed in to their children, and there are some dads that aren’t dialed in so much, being present in your child’s lives is simply crucial to bridge a gap that has been studied extensively, this gap can easily be bridged by showing up and being present in your child’s lives most of the time. There are many distractions in life, there are many ways to not be focused or dial then to the many nuances that our kids present at any given time. The best place to start is by just being there physically and emotionally. Present dads are having a gigantic impact on the positive forward motion and development of their children, and this alone is a great first step.