For others, these seismic cultural shifts are welcomed and long overdue.
No matter how we stand on any issue, however, it is our responsibility as fathers to equip our children with survival tools that will help them live good and productive lives – and enable them to be responsible citizens no matter what the cultural climate. These tools transcend race, gender, religious affiliation and political party. At least, they should.
Dad, teach your child kindness by being kind. Life is tough enough without people insulting, beating down and bullying one another. Being kind to someone recognizes his or her worth as a fellow passenger on this human excursion, sharing this journey from birth to death.
Dad, teach your children respect by respecting them. Show them special consideration at all times. Each of us is a walking, talking mystery. In our search for meaning, we must handle each precious creation with care. And we should acknowledge that each of us is indeed a precious, complex and mysterious creation.
Dad, teach your children generosity by being generous. Nothing makes us feel better than to share what we have with others, even when we ourselves may have little. The gesture of giving is worth more than the gift. The act of sharing increases our wealth.
Even tragedy teaches
Dad, teach your children to love life by loving them unconditionally. As someone recently stated following the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, hate is a powerful thing. But love is even more powerful. It is hard to deny what the Bible says in I John, Chapter 4: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”
Dad, teach your children forgiveness. Returning to Charleston for a moment. When those who were impacted directly said they forgave the young man who slaughtered nine of their family members and friends, they instantly neutralized the hatred that pulled the trigger. Hate feeds on hate. When the hatred evaporates on one side, the other side has no fuel for the fire. Hate is disarmed.
Dad, always teach your child hope by remaining hopeful yourself. It is amazing that we humans manage to get out of bed every morning and carry on with living – we are surrounded by so much negativity, desperation and despair. Yet, we move forward propelled by the eternal flame of hope. An Irish proverb states, “Hope is the physician of each misery.”
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. They are available for workshops. Contact them at [email protected]