If You Want Them To Listen

You want them to listen. You want them to respect you, as we’ve talked about. What’s the secret?

The great Musonius Rufus, who had some very ahead-of-his-time advice about raising girls versus boys, reminded the kings he advised that “toward subjects one should strive to be regarded with awe rather than with fear. Reverence attends the one, bitterness the other.” 

This calls to mind not just Machiavelli’s advice to leaders 1500 years later, but Abraham Lincoln’s parenting philosophy 300 years after that. Lincoln came to believe that love binds families together better than fear. It was a position he arrived at through experience, in reaction to an upbringing under a tyrannical father. 

If you want kids who listen to you, you have to strive to be worthy of being listened to. If you want kids that spend time with you, be someone they want to spend time with. If you want respect, command it by what you do and who you are. Do not demand it, like some of those figures from history or even from our own lives who impotently beg for it or futilely expect it. 

Strike awe, not fear. By realizing your own potential, by having your act together, by pushing yourself. Show them what an adult looks like. Show them what they can be—show them something they’ll want to be. 

This will get you what you want too…in more ways than one.

P.S. This was originally sent on May 5, 2021. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”