reply to post by LateApexer313
Let's see, exactly what did I do for my children?
First of all, I love them. Period. Unabashedly. Unashamedly. Unconditionally. I try every day to make that simple fact perfectly clear to them. Their
problems are my problems, their trials are my trials... and their joys are my joys. My daughter just completed two college courses on an advanced
program full scholarship from the leading university in this section of the country (University of Alabama). She is 17 and still in high school. This
is an astounding feat, and one she has worked diligently to accomplish. I could not have been happier if it had been me that was accepted for this
honor. Their achievements are my achievements.
Second, I am honest with them. As an example, we did the old tired Santa Claus routine, but with a twist: at the first question of whether Santa was
real, I told them the truth. And as I told them, I smiled; I was happy that they had figured out something was wrong. I think they both knew that.
When I spent 5 years in a clinical depression, unable to be anything but a mere shadow of a real father, and eventually recovered, I did nothing to
hide the horrible truth from them. I told them everything that went through my mind. I also told them how sorry I was for being so sick, and how much
I wanted to make it up to them. Believe it or not, two young children could understand... and forgive.
My children have seen my wife and I struggle with a lack of money. They have seen us argue. They have seen the ugly side of what all humans are. But
they have also seen the love we have for each other, and how I place my family before myself. They have seen my sacrifices and my failures and my
triumphs. They saw life raw and uncensored, from a front row seat. They also saw that they had a safety net named Dad who would rather die than have
anything hurt them. My own Dad once told me what love was: He said, "If there was a bear that was going to kill one of us, it would have to be me."
I never understood until I had kids, and I am sure mine will understand when they have grandchildren for me.
Third, I stressed education. I read to my wife before they were born. I took them to school on their first day, and stayed until they were busy, then
slipped quietly out (even though my son caught me
). Every year, regardless of whether we had money for gas, regardless of work schedules,
regardless of how I felt, I was ready on that first day of school to take them in myself, until that day came when they wanted to go it on their own.
Again, I smiled; they were becoming independent.
I attended every single awards ceremony, without hesitation. I signed every single report card my wife didn't get to first. We considered it an honor
worth fighting over. If there was a problem at school, we were there to see it was corrected. We met every teacher every year, attended most of the
open houses, built a relationship with the teachers. Homework was sacred; nothing came before it. Good grades were expected, but doing their best was
required. We cared, and we made sure it showed.
Fourth, we never took our children to church, despite my being a devout Christian. I believe they learned about God and Jesus from conversations
between myself and my wife and friends. But when they asked about going, I was happy to support that decision. In short, I showed them how I believe a
Christian should act, rather than simply telling them.
Finally, I took time to be with them. They watched TV, like all kids today do, but I also watched the same shows they did. Not every opne, but enough
to know what they were being exposed to. I forbad a few shows, but usually let them watch what they wanted. If I saw something I didn't like, I
talked with them about it. That's different than talking to them; they got to talk back. I knew what they were becoming even as I watched them become
I guess if you boil it all down, we (my wife and I) simply cared about them more than we cared about us. I've made plenty of mistakes as a parent,
but as I told my son a while back: "No one knows how to be a parent at first. you learn from your parents, and when you become one, you take their
successes and try to improve on their failures." Yet even my failures have been a lesson to them. I believe that one day, they will make better
parents than I have been, and that in itself will make me a better parent, retroactively. Remember, their successes, are my successes.