Parenting Lessons from the Obamas
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4. Don’t just preach—provide opportunities that guide your kids to healthy decisions. From the White House swingset to the vegetable garden nearby, the Obamas made sure their girls had fun ways to stay fit and eat right. They understood that if their kids were engaged and having fun, they'd be more likely to make the right choices. Michelle Obama spread this spirit from her home to the rest of the country through her Let’s Move campaign. It's a good reminder that good practices don't just happen on their own; it's up to us to insill them in our kids creatively and effectively.
5. Don’t be embarrassed to be yourself. Whether making bad dad jokes in front of the kids—not to mention the whole world—or sporting those, um, unflattering dad jeans, Obama displayed his personal, human side in public, showing his daughters and all of us that we cannot turn off certain parts of ourselves. Being ourselves authentically and fully is the best way to show our kids how to live comfortably and confidently in their own skins and in the world.
6. Don’t be afraid to show or express emotion—or even cry. Obama can get downright mushy and even teary when it comes to expressing his feelings for his wife and kids, as he did in his farewell speech. Much as it’s hard for me to fathom, there are still are those who believe men shouldn’t cry, and plenty of dads still have trouble expressing emotion. It’s time to take a cue from our departing dad-in-chief and get over that.
7. Live a life of charity. That White House swingset? It now lives at a Washington, DC, shelter to which the Obamas donated it—and followed up by visiting the kids and pushing them on the swings. Charity is something you give and something you do.
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