Yesterday my wife snapped a photo of our daughter (London) trying to walk in my shoes. It was classic little kid stuff. Daddy comes home from work tired, takes off his shoes and boom…the game is on to see if the two year old can fit in and walk in his shoes. What struck me most though about watching her was the symbolism of it all. I started wondering, how will she figuratively learn to walk in my shoes as she gets older? Do I even want her to walk in my shoes or should I be more concerned about making sure she has her own that fit? As you can see, my mind often goes to the big picture even in the most innocent of moments, and for good reason. What we do as parents reverberate into the future. Make no mistake about it, our choices, good or bad have consequences and our decisions will echo into future generations. Our task as parents is to ensure that the echo we leave is a positive one.
I’ve been thinking about the importance of decision making a lot lately given Thanksgiving break and the recent events happening with my own extended family. On the one hand, I have an aunt and uncle who just celebrated 27 years of marriage, raising 2 girls who are now college (and soon to be) graduates, and they’re leaders in their careers. They’re a model to each of us because they’ve displayed a standard of a healthy relationship, strong parenting, and career achievement for many of us, myself included. On the other hand, well…let’s just say that we all have other family members who’ve chosen different paths. Ones that have led them and their children into turmoil with no apparent end in sight.
I still believe that in life, you need a fair amount of things to break your way in order to achieve success. However, the equation has always been preparation (i.e. you do your part with the hand you’ve been dealt- make good choices now) + opportunity (be prepared to take advantage of whatever opportunities come your way however few they may be) = leads to success.
My main job as a father is to ensure that my daughters have the skills necessary to prepare themselves well (they’re equipped to make good choices), and I do whatever I can to set them up to have expanded opportunities to choose from so that they’re path to success is wider. It’s the advantage of generational planning and legacy. I expect my children and grandchildren to have more potential opportunities than I did growing up because of the choices Samantha and I are making today. But the success rate is up to them. I hope their choices echo as well.