This cliché is usually referenced when you observe the similarities between a child and their parent(s).
One of the many benefits of parenting is the opportunity to raise your children in a way that is consistent with who you are and your values and beliefs. The main goal being to help them be the best people they can be. Molding and preparing a person to be a positive contributor to society and a well- mannered caring individual is simultaneously one of life’s great challenges and opportunities and one of the greatest contributions you can make.
Your success as a parent is often contingent upon a committed and long-term investment on your part. Your child will likely need a lot of your time and attention, and often take priority over virtually everything else in your life.
Parenting is the ultimate example of leading by example. Often, the example that is set is designed to help your children know what to do and how to act in a variety of circumstances. It is equally important to note, however, that parental examples also teach children what not to do and how not to act and sometimes those examples are set unintentionally.
The reality is that time spent in close proximity to another over an extended period, especially the kind of time that requires coaching, counseling, listening, and repetition is going to involve all types of experiences. As a parent, you are going to make mistakes. You are going to get frustrated. You are going to be tired and sometimes not as patient as you know you should be.
You can’t approach your job, as a parent, thinking that your best qualities will always be visible or that even when they are, they will be the qualities that are observed and absorbed. You can only hope that your children instinctively develop into the best version of themselves by, in part, identifying themselves in the best version of you.
Back to the cliché, a lot of things must go right for a tree to produce an apple. That tree had to establish roots in an environment that was conducive to growth and then develop for years and through various conditions before that apple was formed. If that apple is a beautiful result of all the time, sunshine, and rain that contributed to its development, it is also a fine example of nature at its best.
By Scott Arney, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union.
This article is part of Arney's new series, entitled A New Use for an Old Cliché.
This installment is part of Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.