What I want my kid to know

photo: Maris Savik

This little rascal follows me around and notices every move I make. He looks into my eyes, he listens what I say, he walks like I walk.

He makes sure I notice him when he falls.

He wants a hug.

He wants to know I love him.

And I want him to know that I do.

I want him to know that he is well equipped to succeed and he has all the support from his family. I want him to know that whenever he faces opportunity, he can just take it and see where it leads. I want him to know that he can break the rules sometimes, but not just out of spite.

I want him to know how to brush his teeth,

how to be polite,

how to remember people’s names,

how to kiss a girl,

how to start a fire,

how to choose passwords. That’s very important. Because... you cant just use your first and last name with a couple of numbers.

But mostly I want him to know how to build up his self-confidence and how to keep it.

I want him to know that there are things that he is amazing at and things he is going to suck at. And that’s okay. The most important thing is finding a balance between the two. Working on your strengths, but not setting a goal to focus on your weakness. If he is bad with money, then that might be a weakness worth improving.

I want him to know how his strength is in his bottomless imagination or how he chooses to see good in everything. Or how he knows how to surround himself with people and inspire them. Motivate them. Lead them. Or how he knows how to make people feel good about themselves. He should remember that is one of the most important things he can do for others.

I want him to take his time and be relaxed when interacting with people. Some can be overwhelming with their extroversion. I would tell him that if you’re not an extrovert then you can battle it by being extra calm. And very slow.

I want him to know that the troubles a 25-year-old faces are different from those of a 40-year-old. And in the same way the troubles of a 7-year-old are different. This relates to any age or walk of life. We are all living through our experiences and are only acting on our current knowledge. Its the things that we know right now to be true that guide us. Things that might seem irrelevant or easy for an adult can be very challenging for a kid. And I would tell him that if I can’t get what he is feeling right now, I am still there for him and I would make an effort to hear him out.

I’ve lived through troubles in the past that seem to endure, but have thankfully cleared. The relationship with my father hasn’t been easy. My mind has chanced countless of times and the person I am now is very different from who I was ten years ago. That is what makes living so damn good. The fact that I don’t have to be stuck in a certain situation forever and when the time is right it naturally moves forward and recedes into the past.

‘Its not how you reach the ribbon, its how you get across.’
— John Butler

I want him to know that he doesn’t have to do it all by himself. There are always people who could share his struggles or his victories. He just has to be open to them. I would tell him that there is no shame in accepting help, especially when you need it. Taking on something that is harder than you can chew by yourself just creates troubles. When people come to you and ask if you need a hand, take a break and think that maybe you could.

Then he might notice that these people surrounding him start defining him. This is the power of belonging to the right group. Right now my group is family.

I consider family very important to me.

I want my kid to know that he should do what he wants to do. And this doesn’t mean that if I tell him to do something, then he shouldn’t do it. I mean it in a more generally way of finding his own direction and trusting his own instincts and insights. Being more self-aware and self-confident. He should understand what Steve Jobs said about other people not being any smarter than him. That he is able to change the world and he can start doing it straight away. He does not have to wait for approval or a thought-changing inspirational secret. Its just there.

If it can be changed, he can change it.

So kiddo, its like this. Do what you want to do and don’t compromise. If you don’t know what you want to do, then do what you like. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid responsibilities, but you should know what gives you great discomfort in doing. If a friend asks you to do something he himself doesn’t want to do and you don’t like it either, then don’t do it. You shouldn’t ever have to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation because you want to impress someone. And here’s the last idea about impressing people.

You become less yourself, when you start impressing others.

You start working on a facade or traits that don’t really belong to you. Be impressive by being yourself. But don’t make it a goal to impress people. Its great when it happens, but not when you chase it.

His life is his.. and his alone. I can help and guide him. But there will be a day when he must take charge of his own future. When that day comes I hope he does it and enjoys being in control of his life.

I’m proud of you.

photo: Liidia Maier

Share this with a dad you know. Thanks.