Dads and kiddos don’t always see eye to eye, and my kids and I are no exception. Although we share the same last name and a stubborn strength in our own convictions, we often have different ideas about how to define and achieve success.
I was reared to believe that success was not in material belongings or money acquired, though a little dessert can serve as incentives along the way. I have come to understand success as having a vast array of opportunities and options open to you based on the work you have done and the choices you have made. Today, many young people have success visions of glory and fame. Sometimes kiddos attempt to prove dads wrong not realizing that most dads wish for success of their children as much as they do.
I vividly recall the deeply felt emotions of when my children would take shortcuts and/or make rash decisions. I think I have heard and cringed over at least 10 get-rich-quick schemes over the years. I learned quickly not to take their mistakes and bad choices personally. And in doing so, I have come to be more receptive to their points of views. Nowadays with several grown kiddos something magical has also happened – they are beginning to hear what I was trying to tell them, and to understand the value of my experience. I am no longer “Bad dad,” I am now “Badass dad!!" My adult kiddos eventually came to see that there are no shortcuts or magic formulas – just F.O.C.U.S (Follow One Course Until Successful).
I am grateful to be a dad. My kiddos have taught me a great deal about life and myself. I have learned the ‘Principle of 2 B’s’ in rearing teens – keep them “Broke and Busy.” Most importantly, I have learned that every child is a study of one and parents should not tether themselves to the choices their kiddos make. I often tell my kiddos “There is nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you; however there are choices you can make that will forever change your life.” I hope and pray that my kiddos know that this dad’s support is bottomless and that in the most challenging of times the following words I’ve repeated over the years float in their minds: “Believe in yourself,” and “You can do it!”