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Three Leadership Lessons from Dads of History

For many of us, our parents are the first authority figures we look up to. They introduce us to leadership lessons that will carry us through our lives and into our career. In honor of Father's Day, we reflect on three dads from American history and the lessons they have for leadership in the family and beyond:

1. Model achievement. John Adams was not only a father to six children, he was a founding father. A keen political philosopher, Adams believed in the difference one could make by giving to one’s country, himself serving as the first vice president and the second president of our country. These lessons were taken to heart by his children, including his son who followed in his father’s footsteps and became the sixth president of the United States.

2. Shape character. When you hear the name Theodore Roosevelt, you immediately picture the 26th president with elegant moustache. However, that is Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Teddy shared in his autobiography that his father played an integral role in forming him into the man he would become: "He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness. As we grew older he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right in a man. With great love and patience, and the most understanding sympathy and consideration, he combined insistence on discipline”

3. Make space for fun. Parenting is a stressful, thankless job. It can be easy to get so caught up in the responsibility that you don’t enjoy moments with those you care about. Ralph Waldo Emerson is best known for his role as the father of transcendentalism, yet Emerson had some practical, down-to-earth advice on parenting: “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”