I’m often credited for being a great father. If that’s true, it’s not because I’m a great example what to do, but more of an example of what not to do.
I have never taken an illegal drug and I was 21, working in a nightclub as a barback when I took my first sip of alcohol. I set rules for myself to never drink alone and to always have a glass of water in between drinks. That is something I did not learn from my parents. Or did I?
As a kid I struggled in school. Not because it was difficult, but because I did not see the importance of it. My Mom dropped out of school to get married when she was 16. I thought she was so smart.
I love music and needed a Sony Walkman as a kid, so my parents let me have one of their pot plants to sell at school. It was the beginning of the 8th grade. I was expelled for a semester.
During my unplanned time off school, I spent hours riding my bicycle and improving my speed solving the Rubik’s Cube.
My kids have heard these stories and continually witness my imperfect temper, and my impatient and aggressive driving. By luck, they don’t follow my lead.
My son just graduated high school a semester early with a 4.3 GPA. He did this while working as a copywriter for an online bicycle retailer 15 to 18 hours a week and training on his bicycle another 15 to 18 hours a week. He is a world class cyclist with an eye on the Olympics?
My daughter is 20. School was not as easy for her. But her paintings and creativity were obviously far above that of her grade school classmates. In high school she wanted a band where she could showcase her talents writing music and playing the guitar. Her band was too afraid to record so she broke the band up and released her first album in the first semester of her senior year. Her second album was released about 18 months later. According to Spotify she has over a half million fans.
As you can see, I’m not a great parent, I was just lucky to hit the Kid lottery.
My parenting was limited. Here is the only parenting my kids received:
- “I will always let you make your own decisions. No curfew, no limited screen time, no forced lessons. But, don’t ever break my trust or your life and our relationship will be very different.” Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done, but my heart would have been broken.
- “Fail often and fail hard. Failure is a necessary part of learning. You will never learn your limits if you don’t exceed them.”
- “Do the uncomfortable until it is no longer uncomfortable. This rule will only make you better.”
- “Create your own luck. Luck happens when preparation and opportunity intersect.”
- “No excuses. An excuse is just a lie you tell yourself.” I don’t respond well to excuses.
Neither of my kids drink or do drugs. They have tried them and freely told me that they did. I wasn’t disappointed. In telling me, trust was enhanced.
I chose to not be like my parents. I chose to spend time with my kids. I choose to create my own luck.