Show Them How to Do This

In 1952, Margaret Thatcher’s father was driven out of office when a rival political party won a majority in the election. His position wasn’t a particularly partisan one, so it surprised him and most people when his head came up on the chopping block. 

Her father was upset. He was hurt. And he could have reacted in a way driven by those emotions. But he didn’t. Was he thinking that in the process he would teach his daughter a lifelong lesson? No, but that was what happened (which is why we always have to remember: a little fellow follows us). 

Instead of getting angry, instead of lashing out, her father made a statement of incredible restraint and dignity, “It is now almost nine years since I took up these robes in honor,” he said, “and now I trust in honor they are laid down… Although I have toppled over I have fallen on my feet. My own feeling is that I was content to be in and I am content to be out.” 

We could say that what he was doing was showing his daughter how to lose with grace. He was showing her that external circumstances don’t make the man or woman, only how we respond. He was showing her how to bear adversity and how to never surrender your poise or self-control. And these would all be lessons that Thatcher would use in her tumultuous life as a public servant, a prime minister and a mother, things she would think of even long after her father had passed away.

Your kids will need them to. So show them. Show by example, not just words. Show them when it really hurts and you’ve been screwed over, that still your personal code of conduct matters more. Show them they can get through anything. Show them how to fall on their feet. 

P.S. This was originally sent on September 10, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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