I have read many books on how to raise children. Since my kids are teenagers and in that independent phase, I try to read even more, like articles by John Rosemond. One thing I learned a long time ago was the best lesson you could teach your children was to be a good example.
This was something I actually learned when I was in elementary school. I have two older siblings, and learned from them what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior according to my parents. It did not take me long to learn that having a pillow fight with the brand new lawn chair cushions would get you into serious trouble. Thanks sibs, for taking one for the team.
Being a good example can not only teach, but also make someone’s day. The mere act of smiling when you speak to a person, or saying, “Thank you” or “You’re welcome,” can improve the outlook of people around you. Holding the door open for the elderly shows them respect, and your children need to see this on a regular basis.
Parents can be great examples of how to have a loving relationship, by being there for each other, holding hands, and saying, “I love you.” It also helps if you don’t verbally criticize your spouse, when the kids are within audible range.
These days it seems like the world is lacking in good examples, so, from now on, try to put your bad habits behind you and strive to be the best example you can be.