I am the mother of three handsome and lively boys, all currently under the age of 6. Like any mother, I worry about their future. I pray they grow up to live long, healthy & happy lives. I hope they continue to laugh easy and cherish family.
Much is spoken of educating and empowering daughters and I agree that young women need that. But I don't have daughters and I know sons need help too. I know I will fall short of patience at times but I vow to teach them the following lessons...
I promise to teach them courage as best I can. Courage to do the hard but right thing and courage to take calculated risks in life to better yourself. It sounds trite but it's so very hard.
I don't want them ever to fear to fail. If they don't, they'll be too afraid to start new things.
This lesson starts with myself by demonstration. One can't talk about courage; one must show it. So I promise to show them that I do the right thing because it's right. I promise to discuss with them the calculated risks their Dad and I take to better our family. I promise not to stay in a job I hate or continue patterns I know are wrong. I promise to act on good advice, even if it's hard.
In the age of globalization and out-sourcing, young American workers, especially those less-skilled, cannot compete on wages alone. There will always be someone in the world who can and will do it more cheaply than my sons will here. That's not right or wrong but a fact of cost-effective business practices in a globalized world. So to compete, my sons need to be able to not just do the work but instead to solve problems. They need to be able to identify problems and find solutions. They need to be able to see problems no one else can see or be the answer to problems other people do see.
Getting hired is about being the solution to a problem an employer has. Getting promoted is about anticipating problems. It's also about fixing problems and sharing the story. Our children can only compete with growing labor globalization through being thought-leaders. There will be always be problems to solve and I will teach my sons to seek out and run to those problems because that is where opportunity waits.
This lesson begins with letting them solve their own problems as little children. I will always pause to let them work out disagreements amongst each other (within reason). I will support them as they work out issues with their teachers and friends, without my meddling. I will let them suffer the consequences of their actions so that they can learn from their mistakes.
True leadership skills
While the world is full of people in leadership positions, few are truly good leaders. Leadership is created through experience and character-building and I believe can be taught as opposed to born. I promise to teach them to actively listen to others. Customers, direct-reports, managers, colleagues, all have valuable insights to impart. Every person, no matter the level or experience, can teach a leader something valuable.
I promise to teach them to seek self-improvement. To improve fast, they need to be able to not only accept criticism but seek out feedback from others.
Good leaders set calculated goals and smaller milestones to ensure meeting those goals. Being able to complete a huge project or meet a personal aspiration is the ability to face the bigger picture and slice it into smaller, more manageable pieces.
This lessons can start very young. My sons can decide what's for dinner as long as they help prepare it. They will be allowed to make a huge mess with their toys and plan how to divide the clean-up.
You are your habits. Strong character needs daily reinforcement. A man doesn't just become honest, he doesn't lie every day. A man doesn't just become an expert, he builds his experience every day.
I promise to foster honest and hardworking habits. I promise to curb deflection and reinforce responsibility with chores that grow over time. I will encourage and help with homework which reinforces the habit of self-education. I will enforce proper cleanliness and grooming to create an unsuperficial sense of pride in appearance.
This lesson started from the day they were born. Our family has always eaten dinner together, sitting down to instill steadiness and good conversation. I will continue to answer their questions and politely question them back because their opinions matter but they need to master manners.
I don't wish celebrity or wealth on my sons. I wish good honest experience, family, health, and happiness for them. I hope the choices they make when they are young afford them the freedom of choice when they are older. It is my sincere hope to help my boys master these lessons.