Williamson’s Notes: Teaching our Children to Give Back

Williamson’s Notes: Teaching our Children to Give Back

My team asked me to share my thoughts on parenthood as Father’s Day approaches.  A pretty simple request, right?  So, I thought back to the beginning of my journey of becoming a father, and the fear and excitement I experienced along the way.  Then, I recalled an early gift of the parenting book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Admittedly, I skimmed the pages for highlights and gleaned the key tips and frightening warnings.  But as I know today, there is so much more to fatherhood than what comes from a book.  

Along the parenting journey, every milestone, every stage holds such importance, yet it can feel overwhelming to bear the responsibility of molding a child when everything you do or don’t do creates lasting ripple effects. Give them a love for reading? Yes. Let them watch Rambo? Probably not. Not yet, anyway.   

After years of experience and now two sons ages 21 and 18, I have come to learn that there is one single thing that matters most. It’s grown abundantly clear to me that the most important task I have as a father is to encourage my sons to be good people. That doesn’t mean make them weak and without opinion, quite the opposite in fact.  It means to make them strong with an eye for what’s right in the world and heart to love and lead with compassion – and to do so with the greater good in mind.  

We are often challenged to find leadership that unites us, and I believe that good people do just that. Unite us. They are not focused on themselves.  They are focused on the world around them, and how, even in the smallest of ways, they can make a difference. Simply put, how can they can help people.

So, to all you parents out there, keep it simple. Strive to help your children become good people and introduce them to opportunities to serve their community. If United Way can help, give us call.

And I want to invite you to join me and my family at one of United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s 2019 Days of Action. These volunteer projects are a great opportunity to introduce your entire family to the value of giving back for the sake of the greater community. 

I hope to see you there and Happy Father’s Day!

Michael Williamson
President & CEO
United Way of Southeast Louisiana