Awake & Alive
Lessons Every Dad Should Teach Their Sons

5 Lessons Every Man Must Teach His Son

Raising great men is a challenge. However, teach your son(s) these 5 things and you’ll be more likely to raise strong, successful, content men.

One of the greatest reflections of who you are as a man is who your kids become. It truly says a lot about a person when you see their kids grow to become wonderful all around humans. I think of my children as my legacy. When I am gone from this Earth, they will still be here, with families of their own.

How they live, how they treat others, and how they view themselves will largely be shaped by the lessons, virtues and values I teach them now. It might not be fair to say “Lessons”, because perhaps life teaches us the greatest lessons through struggle and triumph and the undulation of this predictably unpredictable pattern.

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We will all struggle. We will all fail. We will all hurt. We will all bleed. We will all experience heartbreak. We will all experience loss. We will all face mortality. These are the variables in life, constant as they are they come at different times and in different ways for everyone yet they remain universal.

It is no small task to prepare your son(s) for everything in their lives, but use this as a guide and your children may be a lot better prepared for it.

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5 Lessons Every Day Must Teach His Son

#1: Be Confident

Confidence is the one trait that will get you further in life than any other. Having an unwavering belief in yourself and your abilities is really powerful. Building confidence in your son is important. It starts with you letting them know that they have what it takes to be a man.

When you are wrestling and roughhousing with your son, massive development is taking place not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. My three year old likes to play this game where he knocks daddy over.

Obviously he is neither strong enough, or big enough to actually topple me over, but every now and then I go down and what seems like a silly game full of laughter is actually a critical tool and building my son up.

You see he has a question in his mind, “Can I take daddy?” “Am I strong enough?” “Can I keep up with the big boys?” When you allow him to win at these games early on you are validating him and saying “YES! You have what it takes son!” Sure enough over time his confidence will grow.

Another way we build confidence in our sons is through praise and affirmation. Say things like “Good Job” and “I am proud of you!” and most importantly, “I love you!” You really cannot say these type of phrases too much.

As a father you need to be your son’s biggest fan and biggest cheerleader. When he sees how much you believe in him he will believe in himself and his confidence will grow.

Growing up with an attitude that says, “I can do anything I put my mind and energy into” that is a lesson that will empower your son for the rest of his life and lead to success in many endeavors. Nothing is stronger than a firm belief in one’s self; as a dad you are in the most critical position of all to begin this confidence in your son.

#2: Follow Through

If you read my article on “5 Ways to be a Better Husband” (read here) then you know that this is one of the most important qualities you can have as a man. It has to start young and become a characteristic of every great man.

If you want your son to grow into a man you and everyone around him is proud to know then you must teach him the value of following through. That means that you teach you son to keep his word; that when he says he is going to do something, or be somewhere he does it. We live in a society where people are late for appointments constantly.

People fail to show up to help a friend when they said they would. People can’t even return a phone call in a timely manner. Humans, men especially, have become less reliable and dependable.

What happen to the days when you looked someone in the eye and shook their hand in agreement on a time, place, and task and the follow through went accordingly? As fathers we can help change this by teaching our sons to mean what they say and stick to their words.

Honor you commitments son, if you told your friends you would go to the movies with them go. If you told your neighbor you would mow their lawn Saturday morning at 7am; well then you better be there at 6:55am ready to get the job done.

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#3: How to Respect Women

Lead by example; love your wife in a way that teaches your son how to respect and treat a woman. One day he will most likely get married too and the example you set will help him know how to treat women. If you have daughters imagine how you would want them to be treated by a man.

Raise your sons to be gentlemen and to honor women. Also I would add that when your son starts dating and becoming interested in girls, you keep (to the best of your ability) an open line of communication.

Let your boy(s) know that they can come to you with questions and that while you may not have all the answers (or any) on the subject of women that they can still talk to their dad.

#4: Personal Responsibility

This is a big one and in today’s world of projection and entitlement, it is up to parents to remind their children this very important concept. YOU are responsible for your actions and decisions and the outcomes and consequences that are the subsequent result.

Teaching your son to own up to his mistakes is critical for them to develop into a self sufficient, independent adult.

If it is always ‘someone else’s fault’ then they will never learn, they will simply pass the buck. Adjunct to this thought is the reassurance that you will fail, you will make bad decisions, you will make mistakes; and “That is ok son, now we just have to own it, learn from it, grow and move forward.”

I think it important too that your son sees you admit fault and take responsibility. I have apologized many times to my sons for messing up; no one likes a guy that never does anything wrong and no matter what it wasn’t his fault anyway. We all know the type; our kids see this and pattern it.

Therefore you must take personal responsibility in your own life if you wish to instill this value in your son.

#5: Be Courageous

Courage comes in many forms. The most common definition is doing something you might be afraid to do despite your fears. Courage can be standing up to a bully, or defending a peer that is being picked on at school. Courage can be trying something new even though you are unsure.

Courage can be exploring the woods. Courage can be standing up for what is right when others around you won’t. Courage means being brave for your family during the times they need you most. Courage comes in many forms and I can think of few other values that will so abundantly help my sons throughout their life.

Being a father is not without its challenges but it is also extremely rewarding. As parents we will make mistakes, get things wrong and get things right; in the end we hope to raise kids that are better versions of ourselves and are amazing humans!

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Mark Smith

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the owner of Asylum Fitness in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a Movement and Strength Coach that uses unconventional tools and methods to make his students a little better with each practice. His main focus is movement, he believes, “We were born to move. Reclaim your birthright.” He encourages his students and all those he meets to just play, similarly to when you were a kid, believing that play is the foundation of movement and movement is life. “By learning to move better and improving our mobility, everything falls into place.” he says. Mark is an Outdoor Fitness Enthusiast, is well versed in corrective exercises, and currently holds a level 1 FMS (Functional Movement Screen), and is a MovNat level 2 certified trainer and is always seeking to learn from the best. He also has a background in track and field, martial arts, ballroom dance, and currently is practicing parkour.

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