There are some things, from common-sense knowledge to people skills, which all children should learn. No matter how hard or uncomfortable some of the lessons may be to teach, it is up to the father to instill them. Below is a shortlist of the essential lessons that all dads should pass on. Feel free to add your own lessons as needed.

  1. Life is hard. The world is a hard place. Not all people are good. You have to work for everything you get or you will get nothing but cynicism and envy as your constant companions.
  2. Shake hands properly. He or she needs to understand that a handshake should be firm, not a dead fish grip. Steady, firm, pump, let go. Use the time to make eye contact, since that’s where the social contract begins.
  3. Laziness gets you nothing. Never in recorded history of this wonderful planet has laziness earned anyone anything. There is no value in it. If your child sees the value in hard work and not just for what it gets you materially, but for the person it makes you, you will have a good, successful, strong son or daughter.
  4. Show respect without being a suck-up. Teach your child to respect the following, in this order: age, experience, record, reputation.
  5. Never stand idly by. Make sure he or she isn’t merely a person of intention, but a person of action. Inaction of good people is just as bad as the actions of bad people.
  6. How to handle money. There are three skills he needs to learn when it comes to money: earning it, spending it and saving it. Teach your child the value of each.
  7. How to deal with stress and relax. You don’t want to pass on your stress habits to your child. So whether you guide him or her towards exercise, meditation or a healthy diet — don’t forget that you need to exemplify the relaxed outlook you hope they will have in life.
  8. Become great at something. Teach your child the value in mastering a skill or many skills. It’s not necessarily what you earn from your skills but that you become great at them.