Leading by Likeness

Note from the editor: It’s Friday… my favorite day! We get a peek into the live of real dads and their daily struggle. Today, John, @TheDaddyYoDude, discusses the fact that our children are soaking us up… every little nuance… every quirk… every word. Oh! The pressure! His solution… leading by likeness. Take a peek. And read more on his blog The Daddy Yo Blog.

Nobody likes a copycat. Well, that’s not entirely true. I love two copycats. They are my children. They love to imitate everything I do and say. More often than not, it ends up being a not so great thing, especially out in public or with company here.

I am a major fan of using the fart noise as an escape method out of any tense situation that could lead to a meltdown of one or both children. I have to admit that I am probably just as much of a child as they are in a lot of regards. The problem now is that when they get nervous or start getting tired, they will start making these noises anywhere. And I mean ANYWHERE!

How does this have anything to do with anything? Children emulate their parents on a lot of levels, and in many ways that we may not recognize right off the bat. Most commonly you hear that parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke. Not because of second hand smoke or early nicotine addiction, but because they learn to replicate these behaviors. These simulations of the parents’ lives can go much deeper though. Even to an emotional and mental level.

This really hit home a few days ago while watching my son play by himself in the kitchen. I could hear him getting louder and what sounded like having an argument with himself. As I listened more closely, I realized he was not arguing with himself. He was being me, arguing with himself. He was reenacting a disagreement we had earlier in the day and the horrible way in which I reacted to that situation.

I was shocked that he had it down so remarkably well, and remembered it to a tee. I was also heartbroken that my son was currently remembering me that way. Children are very perceptive and are like video cameras. The problem is, there is no erase, and you have no control over the timing of the playback. They live a lot of their lives in our likeness.

The solution to these heartbreaks and situations? Leading by likeness. As a parent, we all want to raise the best children we can. It all starts with how we act and what they reflect of us, especially at a young age. It quickly sank in on me that day that if I want to raise loving, compassionate, and great people, I have to be those things as well. The best example of such things they will ever see is me.

Sometimes I find myself hoping that my children don’t turn out like me later on in life. And this is for a multitude of reasons. Then I find myself asking “what can I do to make sure of this?” and the answer is now clear: I must lead by likeness. Perhaps the change in them will also be the change in me. And in that way, all of us will benefit.