My job as your father

Dear kids,

I often tell you that I only have two primary jobs as your Father:

  1. Keep you safe

  2. Teach you how to make good decisions

Life is full of decisions. The decisions we make every single day shape what kind of a person we are. Make good ones, and you become a good person. Make the right decisions with good timing, back them up with responsibility and fortitude, and you become a great person.

You don’t realize it yet, but you are in training to make good decisions. For example:

We make you take care of your responsibilities every day, so you can earn your privileges. You have to do your laundry, clean your room, clean the play room, and any other outstanding chores before you can do what you want to do (which, these days, is always Minecraft).

I know that sometimes you feel like I’m a bit harsh on you. It’s hard to have responsibilites when you’re only 8 and 6... In my opinion, doing the hard thing first is crucial to keeping your priorities in line, and making good decisions when it comes to “what you need to do vs. what you want to do”.

We require you to make little choices all day, every day. Do you want this or that? Do you prefer A or B? Do you think this is better or that is better?

I think that lots of small choices now will eventually turn to big choices later, and the better you are at making choices and taking action, the easier it will be for you to do this on your own.

We make you talk to adults on your own. E.g., Ordering your own food at the restaurant. Explaining why you want something. Properly introducing yourself.

I want you to have respect and gratitude for other people - but never intimidation or fear. When you do/experience something a few times, you lose the fear of the thing.

We make you earn money to spend on things you want. It’s rare, outside of birthdays and holidays, that you get a toy or a video game without doing something (outside of your daily responsibilities) to earn it. You’ll clean out the garage, or pull some weeds in the garden, or sweep the kitchen, or any of a hundred things.

When it comes to the decision to buy something, it helps to know what that thing truly costs. Someday, with luck, you won’t need to worry about money, but you will know that everything you buy has it’s cost.

As you get older, you’ll get more responsibility, and more freedom. I will try to teach you how to exist on your own, before you ever leave the house. Once you’re on your own, you won’t have somebody to tell you what to do, or how to do it.

My hope for you is that you’ll learn how to be responsible, thoughtful, and hard working. I want you to be gracious and humble, but full of confidence. I want you to be able to take action, make things happen. You have the ability to change the world for the better! It all starts by making good, responsible decisions, every day.

2014-09-15