Initial Impressions: Rand al'Thor
We first meet Rand as he's walking the Quarry Road with his father, heading through the blistering cold towards the village of Emond's Field. He's tall, very tall; the anti-Napoleon of the district, if you prefer. He's very much a young man - old enough to be trusted to wander the woods alone with his friends and handle hunting weapons, but still young enough to be afraid of being out alone on a cold, dark day.
... he was a pillar of reality in that morning, like a stone in the middle of a drifting stream.
The Eye of the World, p. 2
The use of negative space to provide a comparison is brilliant here; especially for a young kid on his first read through decades ago. Instead of saying that Rand is a child; Jordan instead takes the more relatable (in my opinion) of the father being the ideal leader for the son. As a small child; this is just a part of reality. As we grow towards adulthood, the commitment on the part of the parents to be the ideal leader becomes a heavier burden; it's no longer just accepted as fact - it's earned, in every action and in every promise.
Keeping his word was important to Tam.
The Eye of the World, p. 3
Children are ever watching their parents. As youngsters, it's to observe and learn - orienting themselves to the world. As they charge towards adulthood, oftentimes an essence of competition kicks in; waiting eagerly for a mistake so the youthful upstart can prove their superiority over their elders. Those that march stolidly on, shrugging off the cold and damp, holding fast to convictions and ideals keep the respect and admiration of their children.