How fathers can earn the respect they deserve
By ZAID MOHAMAD
Of all leaders in the world, there are few who stand out and shine. Whether they are religious, political or business leaders, they have left great legacies that not many can emulate.
What do they have in common? Why do we revere them long after they are gone? What makes them so inspiring that their followers would do anything for them?
On the home front, fathers are supposedly the natural leaders and head of the household. As such, we must ask ourselves what type of leaders are we. Are we bossy or inspiring? How do we influence our kids to get things done?
Children today are getting smarter. Born in the Information Age, they like to be engaged and want to understand reasons why they have to do certain things. That’s why some people call them Generation “Why”.
Answers to these questions can provide great insights on how we too, can be a better leader for our family.
Respect vs fear
Just think of a few well-known political leaders who have ruled with an iron fist. Do you fear or respect them? The answer is obvious. We have always feared horrible leaders who abuse their power for personal gains.
They take advantage of their people in many unimaginable ways.
Now think of leaders who have admirable traits. Can you feel a sense of respect when their names cross your mind? Would you go out of your way to meet such a person? Many would do much more than that.
This is the reason why employees who have respectable bosses go the extra mile to deliver their work.
We can re-apply this concept at home. We don’t want our children to fear us. We want them to respect us. But respect is earned, not gained. Just because we are father figures, it doesn’t mean our kids will automatically respect us. We need to win their hearts through positive gestures and actions.
Inspiring vs imposing
Great leaders are also the ones who inspire rather than impose on others. They enthusiastically share their visions and others gladly follow. As fathers, we must also inspire our children.
But it’s easier said than done. Our relationship with our family is not always easy. We have day-to-day issues that can derail our visions if we are not careful.
But this is what separates great fathers from average ones. Like great leaders, great fathers somehow know what to do to inspire their kids. They watch their words and their actions. They also have high emotional quotients to withstand daily pressures.
We all can be great parents. For example, when your children make mistakes, don’t easily lose control. Give feedback instead of criticism. Feedback focuses on their actions. Criticism, on the other hand, attacks the person.
Which one do you think is more inspiring? People can accept that they have done something wrong but no one likes to be labelled as bad.
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Empowering vs enforcing
You will probably have a few bosses in your lifetime. Some may empower you to do things, while others may force you to do the things their way. Which one would you go the extra mile for?
Most people like to be empowered. They would feel honoured when they are trusted to think and do things on their own.
Leaders who recognise and leverage this knowledge can go a long way in influencing other people.
Back home, the same rules apply. Empowered children are happier and more confident.
They are not afraid of making mistakes, hence they learn much more than those who are forced to do things in certain ways.
They can maximise their creative thinking and decision-making skills early on.
How our children turn out to be depends on our parenting styles. If we are the rigid, forceful type, chances are our children will be afraid to make mistakes and miss the golden opportunity to learn from their blunders.
A better style is to empower them to do things to the best of their abilities. Yes, it would not be perfect, but the trade-off in terms of learning is well worth it.
Loving vs just living
At the end of the day, fathers who are inspired by great leaders will create a better world for their families. We should aim to be such fathers. When we do, it shows that we’re truly loving our family, not merely just living our lives together.
Life will be much more fun and easier for everyone. Relationships and bonding are not affected by negative issues. Instead we grow stronger after we resolve them.
We can learn a lot from the great leaders of the world. Their philosophies should be applied in our little organisation called families. We must aim to be respected rather than feared.
Let’s inspire our kids to achieve greatness rather than impose an endless do’s and don’ts. Instead, encourage them to be themselves. Trust their abilities and give credit and encouragement when needed.
After all, we would want to leave a legacy of love behind, wouldn’t we?
Zaid Mohamad is a certified parental coach and author of two best-selling books, Smart Parents, Brighter Kids and Smart Parents, Richer Kids. To get in touch with Zaid, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org