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Former resident: Lead children by example
Michael Hairston speaks at local workshop
Michael Hairston addresses a workshop in Henry County on Friday.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Former Axton resident Michael Hairston offered advice Friday on how to be a good husband and a good father.
About 20 people attended the speech, which was part of the Mini Workshop: Ministry to the Black Male held Friday at Morning Star Holy Church in Axton.
Hairston, now of Tulsa, Okla., works for a Fortune 500 company writing computer software. He also was the Tulsa Oklahoma recipient of the 2012 Civil Rights Legacy Award and is a board member of 100 Black Men of Tulsa.
The theme of Hairston’s speech was “walking in a way that my father is pleased,” he said.
He talked about an acronym that he developed for “WALKING” to advise how a man should live. W stands for “willingness to improve on our weaknesses;” A stands for “I’m accountable for my actions;” L stands for “lead with love;” K stands for “keeping the faith;” I stands for “instill with integrity;” N stands for “not too old to have fun”; and G stands for “Godly man,” Hairston said.
Hairston has two sons, Nathan and Christopher. He and his wife Kimberlee have been married for nearly 30 years.
As people go through life, they should ask themselves what they want to be known for — “Were you a good man? Were you a good husband?” Hairston said.
He added that he can say that he always has been faithful to his wife and always has tried to lead by example with his children.
As a parent, it is important to set guidelines and a structure for your children, but always remember that young people want to be heard, he said.
Also, when offering a child constructive criticism, always start with a compliment, offer the constructive criticism and then end with another compliment, Hairston said. That way, children learn how to be positive in their lives, he added.
Many children do not have positive role models, so everyone should be encouraged to become get involved by reading to or having lunch with a child. It’s important for a person to give back to their community and attempt to make it a better place because “as you reach up, never forget to reach back,” Hairston said.
The more positive people — which can include coaches, teachers, parents or relatives — that are involved in a child’s life, the better. That builds excitement in a child and makes him or her thankful and grateful to have those people in their lives, Hairston said.
If there are no positive role models, there is a good chance that the child will find a negative role model to lead them, he added.
As a husband, never go to bed angry and when “she (his wife) talks, I listen and when I talk, she listens,” he said.
When there is an argument, take the time to “discuss the principle, not the person,” he added.
Throughout his marriage, Hairston said he has made the effort to have a date night once a month to keep the romance alive as well as set the example to his children because “what they’ll see is what they’ll be.”
Hairston was a three-time state champion in cross country and track while he was a student at Laurel Park High School, where he graduated in 1973. He also was a marathon runner and qualified for the Olympic trials in 1980.