Let’s face it: Nobody — not LeBron James, not Tom Brady, not … I don’t know, who are the kids into these days? Kevin Nealon? — none of them will shape the man my son turns into more than me.
He may see how LeBron dunks the ball, but he’ll see the way I treat my wife, the way I react to homeless people or bullies, which off-color jokes I laugh at, what I say about people behind their backs, and whether or not I cap off a bad day by directing my frustration at innocent bystanders.
When we’re in traffic and another driver does something that adds a couple seconds to my journey, and I yell at them, he yells too. That’s how he learned his first mild swear (which, thankfully, he’s mostly forgotten by now. He may relearn it next year from those hooligans in kindergarten, but there’s nothing I can do about that).
But when he sees me sitting quietly and reading a book, he’ll sometimes pick up one of his own books and sit next to me; he’s been doing that since before he knew which end of the book was up.
This morning, he successfully used a shoe horn.
None of these are things I intentionally taught him; he picked them all up through observation and imitation. He wants to be like us, because we are his superheroes. I, 5’8” with no jump shot, am his LeBron James.
He’s already half me genetically, and his personality and values will be largely influenced by me, as well. I must be an example 24/7.
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