Show Them What’s What and Who’s Who

We told the story a while back about Richard Feynman’s father, who took pains to show his son—usually by their photo in the newspaper—who was worthy of respect or not. He didn’t want his son to be fooled by appearances or titles or fancy clothes. He wanted him to know what a good man was like, and what actually made someone worth admiring. 

This is something we have to do too, in our own way. Because it’s so easy for kids to learn the wrong lesson, or be distracted by the wrong role models. Your job, when you see the president lying on television, is to let your kids know that this is what a liar looks like. Your job, when you see some shameless reality star debasing themselves for attention, is to explain to them what desperation looks like and how it’s the opposite of dignity. Your job when you see a cheating team win a championship, is to explain to them why this win has an asterix and why you don’t respect it. 

By the same turn, your job is also to point out heroes when they walk by or when they appear in culture. Tell them about Pat Tillman. Tell them about Harriet Tubman. Take them to Washington to see the Lincoln Monument… or to London to Parliament Square and explain why this American, who never stepped foot in England, earned a statue there too. Walk a few steps over and show them Millicent Fawcett, and Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, and Winston Churchill.

You can talk to them about the grey area too—for no hero and no villain exists without shades of grey. But you have to talk to them about these things, you have to show them what’s what and who’s who. Start early but never let up: Show them good and evil, honor and shame, courage and cowardice, principled and pathetic… so they can model this practice in their own life.

P.S. This was originally sent on May 22, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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.