Tuesday Toss Up: which former president would make a cool dad?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Fra...

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Franklinas Delanas Ruzveltas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Presidents and parenting go together like peanut butter and jelly. Of all the U.S. presidents, only six didn’t father children. Check out the detailed biographies at the White House websiteGeorge Washington, Andrew Jackson, Warren Harding, James Polk and James Buchanan didn’t have kids.

John Tyler, our 10th president, fathered fifteen children. To think they didn’t have disposable diapers in 1841.

We all have opinions on politics and history. What was right, what was most definitely wrong, and what we think could be done better. What interests me, is that so many of our presidents were dads too.

Franklin Roosevelt gets the coolness factor here. He put America back to work during the Depression; mobilized the United States to fight in World War II; and was the longest-serving president with four terms. Did I mention he fought a personal battle against Polio?

Having never been president of anything myself, I would suspect parenting and presidential leadership are very similar:

  • You can’t please everyone all the time.
  • You take the blame for all the bad things in the world.
  • Rarely do you get credit for the good.
  • Running the country and having kids can take years off your life expectancy.
  • The White House or your house, sometimes it’s never big enough.
  • Your wife is the boss, she just let’s you think you’re in control.

I have no ambition to ever be president. But, I wouldn’t give up this father gig for anything.

Thanks for reading. Comments and feedback are always welcome and encouraged.


The Positives of Being Positive

Do you know someone who is negative? Nothing makes them happy. You could tell them they just won millions in a lottery and they respond, “yeah, I’m going to get $30 million instead of $50 million due to taxes.”

There are many people out there who take the silver lining to every situation and cut it to shreds, then cover it with dirt. Negativity is one of my least favorite traits I see in others and myself.

I’m guilty of being negative too. We all are. But some people are predisposed to being constantly negative. I believe those individuals are less healthy than the rest of us. Over the past few weeks it seems more and more negativity is around me. I don’t know why this is.

Is it society? Is it the news? Is it the economy? Or, is it simply people just don’t realize how good life actually is? Everything that we hear about the world around us, regardless of the source, is biased in some form. Everything is perspective. I’m not sure why, but perspectives lately are more dire than in recent memory.

Here’s where I relate my diatribe to parenting: negativity is bad for the children. So don’t be negative parents. This doesn’t mean we don’t teach our children the realities of life, we must. The world can be a harsh place. However, constant negativity does nothing to make the world a better place. Not to mention, staying positive is a good leadership trait and as parents we are the ultimate leaders.

I hope, for my son’s sake, there won’t be as much negativity around as he grows.

Parenting and Leadership: Teaching Of Respect

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? The age-old question remains open for many of us. What is easily answered, however, is what comes first: behavior or respect. If an individual, as a child, is taught respect, their behavior will follow.

Parents have the tremendous responsibility of teaching kids respect. Everything stems from respect. Respecting oneself means respecting others. I’ve come across numerous instances where adults lack respect for one another. Nothing good results from this. Nothing.

WIthout showing respect, and this is different from liking a person, the ability to negotiate disappears. We don’t, and won’t, like everyone we encounter in life. I would almost venture to say we dislike more people than we like in our modern culture. This doesn’t mean we still don’t show respect. Children who learn to respect others will grow up to be far more successful adults. I don’t have any scientific data to back this statement up, but I think this is more common sense than anything else.

Parents who show a lack of respect for each other, themselves, and others will only set their children up for a rough path in life. I will not go into what is prompting this post, but let me just say I’ve witnessed gross disrespect from intelligent adults more than I care to admit.

Behavior, whether in children or adults, stems from respect. Once a person learns how to respect others, they will use this as a core value to drive their future behavior. I believe this is a true statement. I’m sure I will make mistakes as my son grows older. It’s inevitable. However, I will ensure one thing, I will teach him respect. Respect for himself, respect for his parents, and respect for others. Then, just maybe, I’ll be slightly less concerned about his future behavior.


Parenting and Leadership: A Little Humility Goes A Long Way

Humility escapes us. So few of us truly demonstrate humility. At least, so few individuals I know. Is arrogance simply human nature? Is this simply a cultural problem? Maybe others out there know more humble individuals than I have the privilege of knowing. I’ve realized however, humility is a form of leadership that we as parents need to demonstrate to our children.

Our culture promotes individuals who quite frankly are arrogant, loud, and selfish. Confidence is a positive trait, arrogance is not. Unfortunately, the line between the two blurs easily.

I will grant the fact at times, leaders need to demonstrate a little arrogance. Sometimes, many times, that’s how individuals attain success. Society has a way of teaching people to step on others to get ahead. What if we all demonstrated a little more humility? I wonder where we would be.

I struggle with the idea of how will I teach my son humility without allowing others to take advantage of him. I do not want others to speak of him as that cocky little….; or that arrogant brat. We all know we say things about other people’s kids. However, I want him and need him to develop into a strong individual.

I’m writing about the topic of humility because in recent weeks I’ve experienced a wave of rather arrogant people. I’m a firm believer in earning your way. If you think you deserve something, a specific job, a degree, an award, whatever it maybe, then work for it. Unfortunately, too many people picture themselves in better life positions, but lack the ability and the maturity to earn those positions. Don’t bother telling them this, they may cry.

I myself am guilty of demonstrating arrogance. I think we all are. But I still don’t understand why humility escapes so many of us so frequently. Life is about relationships. I stated I don’t know many humble people. I hope my son is fortunate enough to surround himself with humility. I do believe a little humility, goes a long way.

Think Outside the Box

Creativity drives the world. From blogging, to art, to the iPod I’m writing on, human creativity drives us. When it comes to parenting and leadership, creativity is an asset and a skill.

The other evening Little A was rather cranky. Neither mommy nor I knew what to do. Nothing worked to ease his demeanor. It was time to think outside the box.

My creativity lead to a song and dance really. Listen, it kept the little guy happy long enough to get back to our routine. Who knew he was looking for some live entertainment.

Here I was thinking a toy, his play center, the crib, maybe an early bath would work. Nope, get creative daddy, think outside the box.

Now think about leadership, same thing. Regardless of what we do, leadership takes creativity. Very easy can leaders, and their followers especially, get bogged down in the current process. How many times do we hear it’s always been done this way?

The more leaders think outside the box, the more they can improve morale and ultimately improve service and productivity. For me, good morale leads to good health. Healthy followers will help the leader achieve goals more efficiently regardless of obstacles and challenges.

As parents, we are leaders. Thinking outside the box will allow us to tackle any challenge involving our kids. What better lesson to teach than that?

Parenting and Leadership: Credibility

In the world of leadership, regardless of what profession, credibility counts for everything. If you are a manager, a supervisor, a lieutenant, or any other leadership position, your credibility is your bread and butter.

Leaders who lack credibility with their subordinates, in my humble opinion, might as well find new work. The same goes for parenting. My little guy is too young to understand this, but I can see it already. As he grows, he is going to listen to my words, and look at my actions. I have to maintain my credibility or I could easily “lose” my son.

Parents are accountable to their kids. Whether we admit it or not, they are actually in control. To possess the ability to guide them, it all begins with our credibility. So below are few things you can do to maintain your credibility, not just with your kids, but with others too:

  1. Mean what you say and say what you mean. The worst thing a parent can do is to not stand by their words. The same goes for leaders. Giving lip service will destroy your credibility instantly.
  2. Be honest. Honesty is the best policy. If you don’t know something, say so. Nothing is worse than faking knowledge. Remember, your kids are looking to you for guidance. If you don’t know, they don’t know. That can be dangerous.
  3. Hold everyone equally accountable. Whether it’s your kid, an employee, your spouse, Santa Claus, well maybe not Santa, you get my point. Everyone needs to know you will hold them accountable. Your kids especially.
  4. Don’t always appease. There are times you need to appease someone. I believe in picking your battles. The same goes for your kids. Sometimes, you may need to give them what they want as you will get what you want later on. But don’t rely on appeasing. Once you give, you can’t take back.
  5. Finally, and probably most important, communicate. Communicate, communicate, communicate…responsibly. Don’t give up the family secrets, but communication breaks down barriers with kids and others alike. Also, when communicating remember number 1 and 2 above.

I do wonder if you more experienced parents out there agree with me or not? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

Parenting and Leadership: Take a Chill Pill Daddy

I posted before about parenting and leadership. I firmly believe as a father, I’m also a leader to my son. Check out my discussion on leadership and parenting here. As my little guy continues to grow and develop, I’ve found some of his behavior frustrating at times. I know, surprising isn’t it? So I decided, as a leader, to chill out.

For example, Little A is embarking on the wonderful baby adventure of teething. Needless to say, nature is cruel. At times he has a slight fever, is cranky, cries uncontrollably. Other times he is simply inconsolable. Since he can’t tell me what exactly is hurting or bothering him, the whole experience is a guessing game. I get frustrated because for all my desire to help him, I’m helpless. Insert the “chill pill.” Take the chill pill when it comes to parenting doesn’t mean ignoring your child, or giving up. Simply put, relax. Step back for a moment and realize your emotional response.

As a leader in any other field, an emotional response usually leads to more problems. Same principle applies to parenting. If my little guy is cranky, won’t stop crying, or squirming, or is fighting against what I want him to do, emotionally I’m through the roof. Getting frustrated only adds to the frustration of my little one. He can sense it. He feels my aggravation.

Now, if I respond by raising my voice or throwing a tantrum, what does that accomplish? Nothing. If anything, I’ve achieved one thing: justifying his behavior.

Relax dads, (and moms). The whole thing will get better. As a parent, you are leading your child toward emotional maturity regardless of age. Remember to take your chill pills with you where ever you go. You, and your little one, will be glad you did.

Parenting and Leadership

How important is leadership to being a parent? I was pondering this earlier today. In my daily travels I encounter many individuals who lack an understanding of leadership. At least, they act as though they don’t understand.

Parenting is a form of leadership. Let’s break down some characteristics that I believe are integral to both leadership and parenting.

Leaders need to have courage. Without courage a leader is incapable of doing what’s right, not what’s easy.

Any parent will agree, courage is necessary in parenting. Whether you need courage to protect your child, tell your child no, or take risks that will benefit your child while others may think you’re nuts, parents are full of courage.

Maturity. Leaders need to be mature. Maturity keeps leaders calm, clear-headed, and unemotional. Parents need all these qualities to the tenth degree. Maturity in parents not only helps the parents but teaches the children proper behavior and how to respond to life’s challenges.

Empathy. Leaders need to be empathetic, not sympathetic. Empathy elicits genuine concern for others without being manipulated. The same goes for parents. Parents need to demonstrate empathy with their children when appropriate.

Honesty. A dishonest leader is not a leader. If parents are dishonest, their children will be dishonest. Not much more to say here.

I could go on, but I won’t. Parents need to realize regardless of what they do in life, they are leaders to their kids. Our children look to us to show them the way. Parenting is the single most important leadership role anyone can do. No pressure.

What other characteristics do you think are important to both parenting and leadership?