“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” – Charles F. Kettering
I pulled this quote from an article I read yesterday discussing rules for fathers of sons. Though I’ve only been a father for a little over two years, I have noticed how much my little guy looks up to me. He imitates the things I say, the way I stand, my mannerisms, the way I dress…you name it, he picks up on it. So, while Kettering’s quote mentions that someday our sons will follow our example rather than our advice, I posit that this process happens earlier than we generally expect. What this means for us is a greater sense of responsibility. Well, at least it should.
The type of young men we raise has a direct correlation to the way in which we raised them. “Do as I say and not as I do” doesn’t work. It carries zero integrity. If you model a life of love, compassion and regard for others, it will bear itself out in a son that exemplifies the same behaviors. Conversely, the opposite holds true. As a first time dad, this is frightening. But, we have to remember that we’re going to screw up. We’re not perfect, and they won’t be either. The invaluable message is letting them see how we handle ourselves when we screw up.
This concept is the same for the young men that we coach. If we scream and yell at officials, treat players and kids poorly, throw fits and kick stuff when things aren’t going our way, what type of example are we setting? I’m not saying we should be dispassionate, but passion can be shown constructively and modeled to create the behavior we want reflected in our players.
This seriously can’t be overstated. I’ve met and coached so many young men who lacked a positive male role model in their lives, and I’ve seen the paths they’ve taken. It’s easy to dismiss them and consider them a lost cause. I urge you to step up. Step up as a father, mentor, and a positive force in the lives of the young men around you. Be the kind of guy that, years later, your former players talk about as their favorite coach. Be the guy that would bend over backwards to help someone, or the kind of guy that was firm, but fair. Be the kind of guy that, when someone tells a story about you, it starts with, “I don’t know where I would have ended up without YOUR NAME HERE.”
If you’ve done your job, your example will ring much more loudly than your advice.
Have an awesome Friday,