“Fathers have many parenting goals, but the most important is for our children to gain their independence”

Happy Fathers Day to my father Dale.  He has always set a great example of what it means to work hard, always do the right thing, and to be independent so that we have choices.  Much of what follows was influenced by him, and by the other fathers I look to as mentors.

Today is my first Fathers Day and Eloise is only three months old, so my ignorance remains at a high level.   When I lack knowledge/experience, I do my best to recognize it and to solicit the advice of others that I believe have been successful mastering the particular subject.   I have questioned some of the best fathers I know and all have had great advice.  More often than not, the advice was overwhelming because parents who are extremely passionate about their children have so much to share.    My way of learning is to gather as much information as I can, and then put that information into a simple summary and form goals if needed.   After listening to all the feedback from the best dads I know, I now feel that I have a solid goal that should be my guide in leading my children.   I believe my number one goal is to teach them to be independent.   Their independence is the most valuable thing I can teach/give them, and it would be irresponsible to not have it be a focal point in how I parent.

As an example of teaching independence, I am extremely excited about helping Eloise start her first lemonade stand.  In fact, there may already be a marketing plan drafted……  My wife told me yesterday that she is worried that I will be disappointed if/when Eloise does not show any interest.  My response is that if she does not see it as fun, or see the value in it, then we likely have not done our job of influencing her.   If we never teach her the correlation between hard work and success, then of course she could not care less about making some spending money for herself; and we are taking away her chance to be independent.

Of course we all want to give our children all that we can, but I believe giving them too much is harmful, and that we should be here to give them only what they need.  In regards to what they “want”, I believe our responsibility is to show them the way to get it, rather than to give it to them.   For example, if Eloise wants some new fancy shoes that she really does not need, I could see her mother and I making a deal with her where we will cover a certain percentage, and she will have to cover the rest.  If she wants help understanding how to cover the rest of the expense, we will be here for her.  My ignorance is likely apparent to some that are reading this and thinking that “sometimes it is just out of your control”.   While that may be the case, I refuse to believe it.  If the lemonade stand does not work,  then we will keep trying until we find the angle that does work.

On this day, my first fathers day, I am vowing to do everything in my power to teach our children to be independent so that they can have control of their future.  Thanks for doing the same for me dad.  Happy Fathers Day.

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