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Learn to Turn: Tom Royals on Parental Prudence

While we often speak of the virtues we wish to see in our children, it is perhaps less common that we reflect on the particular virtues that we need to foster in ourselves. In this episode Mr. Tom Royals, 40+ year teaching veteran and Assistant Headmaster of The Heights, discusses the importance of parental prudence and its progeny: meekness, patience, and humility.

In this week’s episode, we sit down with long-time Heights father and Assistant Headmaster, Mr. Tom Royals, to speak about the virtues of parenting. From his wealth of experience, Mr. Royals shares with us practical advice on the habits to make the home bright and cheerful schools of virtue. Beyond mere theorizing about virtue, Tom’s anecdotal approach in this episode gives us concrete insights into how each moment in the home, whether a setback or a success, can be an occasion for growing in virtue.

Parenting may at times be a messy affair, but as we hear from Mr. Royals, it is also a joyful one. In his own words, it is a dance. If we want to help our children mature into men and women of character, then we ourselves need to learn to be childlike, which means always beginning again, no matter how old we may be—always finding new ways to grow in those virtues which make us not only into mature adults, but also keep us young at heart. 

Show Highlights

  • The virtues that parents of older boys need to live 
  • Often talk about virtues needed in kids, but can forget about virtues that we need to foster in ourselves 
  • The family is the first school: parents cannot abdicate their call to be educators. 
  • It is a journey and a messy affair; no thornless roses here. 
  • How we can learn to turn all circumstances into occasions for loving God. 
  • Parents cannot hide: kids see everything
  • The adventure of the evening and the importance of leaving one’s anxieties at the door 
  • Handling the little things of the day 
  • Kids model our manners and our conduct 
  • Need to keep resetting the button with children 
  • The importance of being present and accompanying our children 
  • The art of fatherhood in three movements: be there, show love and interest to your wife and each child; you’re going to make mistakes: laugh at them.
  • Prudence requires you to know your children in their particularity. 
  • Parenting is often preparing for the future; we are parenting future forty year olds.
  • Prayer and self-knowledge are indispensable
  • How do you get children out of themselves?
  • The romance of daily life in the home
  • Need to be attentive to the time and place of corrections 
  • Propose, don’t impose.

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About the Guest

Tom Royals

Assistant Headmaster, Theology

Tom began his tenure at The Heights in 1979. Over the years, he has taught grades four through twelve in the disciplines of English and Religion, held various administrative positions, and was appointed Assistant Headmaster in 1998. Tom holds a BA in English from Providence College. He has served as Varsity and Middle School Swim Coach since 2010, and was named the Washington Metro Private School Swim and Dive League Coach of the Year in 2020, again in 2022, and WCAC Coach of the Year also in 2022.

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