Have You Given Them The Right Priorities?

It must have been an enormous relief—or perhaps even a surprise then—for a young Theodore Roosevelt to hear from his father when he was entering Harvard to “take care of your morals first, your health next, and finally your studies.” Because pretty every parent for all-time has accidentally emphasized very different priorities day to day.

Of course, we all love our kids and want them to be safe and healthy and happy more than anything. But these things are hard to measure and monitor. It’s far easier to check in on grades, to see if they’re following the rules, to reward them for how they do in sports or nag them for not keeping their room clean.

Our children could be forgiven then for getting a very skewed sense of our priorities. My parents don’t care about how I feel, kids can so easily think, they just care about how well behaved I am, whether I am doing well in school or not. Based on how often they hear about it, why wouldn’t they presume that not making a mess in the car means more to us than taking care of themselves? Based on how animated we get, why wouldn’t they think we care more about them being a good athlete than a good person?

What we talk to our kids about, what we demonstrate to them with our actions, it says volumes about what we care about. And when we focus so much on stuff that they suspect deep down matters to us more than their health or happiness or figuring out what they were meant to do in life, they end up feeling so much pressure, and so alone. All we really care about is that they are safe and happy and good people.

But our actions, our daily interactions have to reiterate that.

And we have to be careful that we aren’t actually telling them the opposite.

Sign Up to get our FREE email.
One piece of timeless parenting advice, delivered daily.

Sign Up to get our eBook

“20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday”



Recent Posts



We’re going to tackle all the big themes of our time and of all time: Grit. Resilience. Curiosity. Compassion. Character. Unconditional love. Finding purpose. Dealing with stress. Masculinity. Female empowerment. Loss. Stillness. Truthfulness. Initiative. Creativity. Passion. Family. Fun.

Join Daily Dad now and tap into a community of dads all over the world dedicated to becoming the very best dad they can be. you’ll get a daily meditation on the above themes and more.