When we are authentic, we are true; we leave questions unanswered to neither ourselves nor others. People know what we value and where we stand. Realness illuminates the path to living the life we want, allowing us to trust in ourselves while carrying the peace and freedom of authenticity into our every interaction.
Like Yourself First
As always, the most effective way to teach children is to model the behaviors we aspire for them. By liking ourselves from within, we better protect ourselves from mistakenly giving others power over us. If we don’t like who we are, we’re more likely to doubt ourselves, our values, or both. When our children see this, they’re more likely to doubt themselves and/or their values.
When we like who we are, authenticity flows more freely. Perhaps this means we won’t keep certain friends or build a relationship with someone whose values don’t align with ours—but isn’t this usually a good thing?
Discard the Ideology of Perfection
Children are supposed to be everything today. Athletic AND pretty. Smart AND fun. Straight As AND a flourishing social life. That’s a lot of pressure. No one can be all things for all people. Encourage kids to just be themselves and do their best. Tell them about some of the struggles we’ve experienced and overcome. Explain how and why we made a certain mistake, how we took ownership, what we learned, and what we did to make things right—not just for the situation—but for ourselves. Help children develop a greater tolerance for failure, teach that closed doors and lessons learned can be catalysts to other, better opportunities.
Choose Authenticity over Pleasantry
Sometimes, complex challenges call for us to choose between pleasantry and authenticity. It’s important to ask ourselves, are we deviating from our values just to make someone feel comfortable? Are we compromising our belief system? The more authentic we are, the less likely we are to create regrets.
There are so many opportunities to teach children with specificity. So many times, well-meaning fathers might offer up a vague generalization, such as, “Behave!” Instead, choose the precise words we mean, such as, “Use an indoor voice.” or “It’s time to share that toy.” Be the leadership voice that keeps it real, specifically guiding children in the most appropriate ways.
Beware of Sexist Trends in Society
Socially, culturally, and professionally, we often comply and do what is expected of us, if for no other reason than to avoid perceived or real judgment. Women and girls encounter social pressures to please others. Meanwhile, it’s more socially acceptable to encourage boys to take risks, be vocal, and break the rules. As parents, it’s important to recognize these “societal-norms” so we can encourage our daughters—and our sons—to remain true to themselves.
Social forces pressure us to follow blindly and comply with herd mentality. Sometimes, the fear of disappointing others drives us to say “Yes” to everyone and everything. Fathers best equip children by teaching them the importance of embracing their values and being true to themselves. Should they develop the strength of authenticity, and manage this gift with kindness and love, our children will have harnessed character trait and an approach to life that is vastly more rewarding than mindless conformity.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
—John 17:17 KJV
Consider the profound impact a child receives once they know what their best qualities are. Developing an awareness of these strengths helps children to focus on “what’s strong” instead of “what’s wrong.” True You! Authentic Strengths for Kids opens up a vital pathway to engagement―at school, in relationships and in life, helping children bring out the best in themselves!
Men who don’t read many books read this one and want to get it into the hands of others. Why? Because Richard Simmons gets it. He understands and identifies the ultimate issue all men face regardless of age, race, or marital status. This book could change your life… and perhaps the lives of those closest to you.
With his signature silly and accessible style, Todd Parr encourages readers to embrace all their unique qualities.
A fresh and inspiring perspective on the psychology of authenticity. Drawing on the wisdom of existential philosophers, the insights and research of psychologists, and case studies from his own and others’ clinical experiences, Joseph shows how authenticity is the foundation of human flourishing—as well as how the ideas relate to debates about the importance of happiness.
All people bring different sides of themselves to various situations. The Art of Authenticity shows how to broaden and deepen your effectiveness by replacing habitual reactions with authentic responses. Our personal truth models good behavior and effective decision-making―and this authenticity is contagious.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.