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Above all else, Atticus sets an example for his children through his own actions and beliefs. Although he is the lone parent in the household and he is often out of town, he always has time to answer any important questions his children may ask of him. He reads nightly with Scout and plays touch football with Jem. They attend church together and Atticus provides plenty of reading material for his kids, knowing they both love to read and the importance of doing so. He is smart enough to realize that Calpurnia is needed to provide guidance for the children while he is away, and they all love her enough to keep her around in spite of Alexandra's protests. But most importantly, Atticus teaches by example. He is Maycomb's legislative representative in Montgomery, and the children recognize that he is the man that people in Maycomb come to when something important needs to be accomplished. He shows a love of all men and women--black or white--and he rarely has a bad word to say about anyone. He teaches Scout that fighting will not solve problems, and that controlling her temper is part of growing up--and becoming a lady. Both of the children want to become lawyers themselves so they can follow in their father's footsteps. We know that the children follow his advice even as adults, since they both seek him out to settle a dispute that is mentioned on the first page of the novel.
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