Father’s Day is upon us once again, and as we close out the school year to prep for more time with my own children, I’m drawn to the following question: What have I learned from teaching to help make me a better father? In reflection, I’m drawn to these “Three Ps.”

Patience: You know, I’ve lost track of the number of times people have made a comment such as, “I wouldn’t have the patience to do your job,” or “You’re so patient with your students.” The fact is that to run a successful classroom, my patience is essential! At the end of the day, when I return home to my own children, that same skill is required as my wife and I raise our kids. As a parent, that talent is sometimes put to the test with my own children during heated conversations as well as addressing sketchy behaviors. With my talented button-pushers at home, it’s great to know I can carry the ability to remain patient that I’ve developed in the classroom into my family relationships, isn’t it?PK Larson and theatre kids (2)

Perseverance: As teachers we sometimes have to adopt a “bulldog” persona, sticking to a task tenaciously until it is successfully completed. Whether with administrators, fellow teachers, parents or students, perseverance becomes the skill I rely on. That talent sure finds itself in action at home, doesn’t it? The long-term goals with my children, the daily dramas that play out that can pull my children and me away from those goals—these can often be best addressed with the ability to persevere that I’ve developed in the classroom. It’s a great skill to model for our children, don’t you think?

Pride: I’m not talking hubris here, I’m talking about the pride I take in running an innovative classroom; the pride I attempt to instill in my students as they learn to set and achieve goals along the way; the pride I take in my school community and the relationships it requires to create that community. Does the ability to recognize how to achieve that pride make me a better parent? I believe it does. Faint praise is not what my children need. There is little to be gained from creating a false sense of security. Instead, I want to work with my children to find the best in themselves and in their communities. In doing so, my children come to know the great feeling of success within themselves, and what their actions can do to make their communities even better.

With these thoughts in mind, I wish everyone a very happy Father’s Day!

Your Turn!

Has teaching influenced your parenting—or vice versa?