Sometimes Life Isn’t Fair
Part 5 of 5!
The Back Story: Prompted by an invitation to write a blog post for a fathers’ theme series, I decided to ask my own adult children about their experiences of his parenting. This series if 5 Tips From a Seasoned Dad is based on that event.
Would you like to know what your children will think about your parenting in 10 years? I know.
My wife and I have four children, three girls, one boy – two hers, two mine – all from previous marriages. They are all four healthy, employed and not living in our house. Yes, I am the most successful Dad on the planet.
Last year, in the time between Mother’s day and Father’s Day (also known as the demilitarized parental zone), I wrote an email to the children and asked the question:
“What are 3 things you (or someone you know – wink, wink) wish your ‘dad’ had talked more about or helped you with? What in your growing up years would you wish more of from your dad? Oh, and I need this by Friday!”
Interestingly enough, all four of my adult children responded. From their feedback, I’ve compiled a list of 5 Tips For Parents to Consider. We started with #1 – I wish Dad had talked more about his childhood and relationship with his family, #2- I’m glad my dad showed me simple car maintenance, #3- More “Hard Stuff Talks”, #4 More Time, and now turn to
5. Help them know they ultimately have to do it.
Confession. None of the kids mentioned this one. It’s all mine. When I think back on what I wish I had done better, it is to teach my children two truths: 1. Your childhood will give you challenges, no matter what I do or don’t do. 2. At some point, only you can determine the outcome of your life. Said not so kindly, you will need to stop blaming your childhood, parents, friends, gender, race, hair color and hat size and take responsibility for your life. If there is one truth that I wish for my kids, it’s that they come to know – earlier than later – that they must each take ownership for their life and live it, embrace it, enjoy it – It’s YOUR life!
That’s it! The total sum of wisdom churned by the simple email to my 4 kids. Dads, if you are able, and crazy enough, to email your adult children in 10 or so years and ask them what they would have liked different, you will likely get a similar list, and that is the real TIP from a seasoned dad.