Although fathers may often seem like silent partners in raising children, their role or lack thereof is quite impactful on the lives of both sons and daughters. As we age and become parents, we undoubtedly become aware of the crucial life lessons imparted by our fathers. Many of these lessons were implicit in their behavior and not necessarily spoken about, yet those unspoken lessons are often the ones that leave the biggest imprint on our hearts and souls. Here are three life lessons that my father has taught me.
1. Money isn't everything - While my father worked hard, never once do I remember him obsessing over money. He didn't talk about other people's money nor did he seem to be impressed by money. Money was a necessary object that helped pay for tuition, buy food, and even do fun things, yet it was never the be all and end all, nor the judge of one's self-worth. I have early memories of my father giving us our weekly allowance. It was assumed we would give a portion of it every week to tzedaka. Money wasn't ours to hoard; but to share with others who were less fortunate.
2. Caring for others - We grew up feeling a duty to always think about others. Even though my father often came home late from work, he spent many evenings on the phone soliciting donations for various charities. It forever impacted me to be aware of the plight of others. As long as there were others suffering somewhere, it was never sufficient to live in our own bubble and remain indifferent. Even within our own family, we learned how to be considerate of other's needs, to do a favor for a family member, and to inquire what we could do to help. My father has taught me that being in a relationship often means putting the needs of others first.
3. Pursue Peace - There are many people who like a good fight. My father is not one of them. He always avoided conflict at all costs and chose to be the bigger man. To this day, I see him shrugging off hurtful comments or criticism. While many men would get reactive, my father has very little ego and couldn't care less. I rarely remember him getting angry about everything. His gentle nature has quietly made an impression on all those who meet him. His example has helped me become a patient father and husband and the calming force in our home.
While my father may not think that his actions have been impactful, they have greatly influenced every area of my life.
Children learn what they live. My father's calm nature, caring persona, and healthy attitude towards money, are his unsung qualities that have become part of my own being.
We all wish to impart important life lessons to our children. What are we sharing with them, even non-verbally?
Father's day is a great reminder for us all to reflect upon the lessons we have learned, consider what values we are transferring to our own children, and to share the appreciation that we may lose sight of, in the day-to-day of our busy lives.
Wishing you the success in all of your relationships,
Shlomo Slatkin is the founder of The Marriage Restoration Project, a global initiative to keep couples from all over the world, together and happy, restoring sanctity, safety, and stability into their homes. For more information about how The Marriage Restoration Project can help your relationship, visit http://www.TheMarriageRestorationProject.com