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Great Father Tip #10: Teaching lessons

October 7, 2011

Great fathers are masters of seizing the teachable moment.

They remain calm during a crisis and are constantly looking for the larger lessons to teach their children.  Great fathers realize that their children’s life does not end at age eighteen and the lessons they learn will carry with them for a lifetime.  They are also able to teach basic things like shaving, courtesy, handling a checkbook and tying a tie.

It's never too early to get rid of some peach fuzz!!

Great fathers are able to take even the most difficult circumstances and turn them into an opportunity for growth.  If your child gets nailed for shoplifting at the mall or cheating on a test, that is not the time to stomp away from him/her in anger.  Yes, your kid embarrassed you, but they also need your strength.  They need to hear about the importance of integrity and the role it has played in your life, both good and bad.  They need to hear the lesson, but feel the love.  This certainly does not take away any consequences.

I am troubled by the trend I see in high schools where parents will rush in to defend their kids at all costs.  This is the Dad that lawyers up in order to have his son be eligible to play in the playoff football game, when the kid was obviously busted for a drinking offense that calls for a suspension.  Let the consequences roll and teach the lesson.  We often have it backwards.  We deny the consequences and skip the lesson.

When I was teaching high school, we were talking about the insider trading scandals and corruption on Wall Street on day in class.  I raised the question of “What do think these guys were like in high school?”  A bright kid in my class answered, “They were the smug guys who sat in the back and cheated on tests and did not think the rules applied to them.”  Exactly right.

Life lessons, whether grasped or not, have a way of coming back to us.  Great fathers seize those moments to make a lasting difference with their children.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL. Contact him at

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