My husband's birthday was a couple of days ago. He has been gone almost 4 years now, but his legacy still lives on. One of my sons asked his daughter, who just turned 10 years old, what were some of the best things she remembered from her "decade" of living. She immediately replied, "Going fishing with grandpa!"
You never know what impact you make on others until later. When I look at how my sons parent, I think of their Dad. He taught them well.
My husband taught through a "hands-on" approach. If the oil needed changed in the cars, my husband had our boys help him. Later they did it themselves. If there was a plumbing problem, my husband enlisted the help of one of our sons. They learned by doing, not just watching. I wasn't aware of how powerful that teaching was until my husband passed away. Then as we talked as a family, each of my sons reminisced and told stories of helping Dad fix this or that and how much they had learned from him.
All my sons are married and have children of their own. They all live in different states from me except for one. Jacob lives close by and it is so rewarding to watch him parent his own 3 sons. He, too, is a hands-on Dad. He takes them to Home Depot with him, not only for the classes, but when he goes there to buy things. He found out about a new place downtown where you can use lathes, lasers, and other types of machinery to make your own projects for free. That would sound like a scary, over the top kind of place to take your young children, but not for Jacob. He took two of his boys and they loved using the tools and making things.
A couple of weeks ago, my grandsons were so excited to tell me about the garden their Dad was making. It turns out that my son cut up an old wooden table that my father-in-law had made years ago and built a raised garden bed out of it. I'm sure my husband and father-in-law were beaming to know that their son/grandson had used something of theirs and had the know-how to make it into something else useful.
One of the most important things my husband taught with his hands-on approach to learning was how to pray to the Lord and ask for blessings and thank Him for blessings given. Last year my son invited me to go with him and his two sons to an airshow. On the way there, we were involved in an accident on the freeway. My two grandsons immediately began to cry, and Jacob jumped out of the car to open their door to see if they were hurt. They weren't, so Jacob said, "Let's say a prayer to Heavenly Father telling him thank you for blessing us that we are okay." What a thrill that was to my heart to see that immediate reaction come from my son.
We learn by seeing, by watching, but most importantly, by doing. Be a hands-on parent. Give the wonderful gift of independence to your children by having them work with you, clean with you, cook with you, play with you and---pray with you.