Teach Values -- Don't Preach Them
You are what you buy. How you shop and what you purchase says a lot about your concerns and values. Do you wait for sales to save money? Do you buy the latest technology in order to keep up with the world? Are you loyal to certain brands because of the charities their parent companies support? Do you prefer recyclable packaging? Are you committed to buying local?
Fathers may miss the chance to explain the values that underlie their shopping decisions by assuming their son already knows them. You may shop at a certain hardware store because you want to support a family-owned business that your dad used to take you to when you were a boy. Your son may think it's because the place is only a block from home and the salespeople treat you like big shot. (Like there's something wrong with that!)
Value education runs both ways, though. Suppose your son dresses for the mall in sandals and knee-length cut offs in 40-degree weather. You might calmly inquire, "Son, why are you wearing sandals and shorts when it's 40 degrees outside?" You might hear, "Because my jeans are in the wash and wearing sneakers with shorts is lame." But he might say, "Because you gave me these sandals for my birthday, Dad."
Moments like that don't have to be fleeting. Our last point suggests a way to keep them coming.