You want your son to be strong and to be honest. You want your daughters to be those things, too. You want them to work hard, to help other people, to be respectful to their parents and the people they meet on the street. You want them to be clean and organized, to laugh and to be resilient.
Of course you want those things. Everyone does. If only there was some magical school where you could send them to learn it. Or some book you could give them to read, right?
Well it turns out there is. Your house is that school. So is your car. You are that book. Your behavior is the lesson plan. It is the lecture. “We must be what we wish our children to be,” John S.C. Abbot said. “They will form their characters from ours.”
You want you son to respect women or your daughter to pick the right spouse? Well, make sure you do that yourself—make sure you model what respect and good relationships look like. You want them to tell the truth? Then show them honesty. Show them generosity. Show them kindness. Keep your house clean before you demand their room be. Bounce back from your own failures. Examine your own flaws. Always be improving. Take criticism. Have a sense of humor.
Your character forms theirs. You show them who they can be—what they should be. So be who you want them to be. It’s the only way.