On being a parent and what I want to leave to my kids
Being a parent is not for the faint of heart and our kids, being what they are, really deserve all the help they can get growing up. Being a parent is hard enough — but doing it alone as a single parent is even more challenging. I am a single parent of two teenage sons. They live with their mom but I take every opportunity to see them (as much as teenagers will allow of their old man, LOL!). I didn’t choose this path in life, but life sometimes presents twists and turns on your journey that you didn’t expect. After the end of a 19 year marriage, single parenthood came upon me and I found myself with the unique challenge to encourage and love on two very typical American teenage boys who’s family life has been turned upside down from divorce, who’s hormones are raging, and who’s favorite pasttimes seem to be video games and YouTube videos. As a mentor of mine once said, “Sometimes, life’s setbacks are merely a set up for a step up.” For people willing to look forward toward the future, I really believe this to be a true possibility for them in the midst of their life’s challenges.
I remain convinced that God gives us grace to handle life’s challenges and when we can take our eyes off of our selves — we are better suited to serve others in their struggles. And that’s what good parenting is — selfless service to the people who have been entrusted to us for a season. Indeed, another description of this calling is “leadership”. It is in this spirit that I’ve spent the last couple of years thinking about how I can best serve my 2 teenage sons.
If there was one word that comes to mind as I think about leadership, parenting, and serving my sons… that word is legacy. Legacy is a rich concept and worth its own exploration. But one of the most enduring legacies we can leave future generations is the written word. I may be a little biased in my conviction on this point because, in a former life, I was a librarian at a college. But even outside of the library, I’ve seen the power of words to lift people’s spirits or put them down. To communicate grace & beauty or to communicate displeasure. To inspire or to discourage. In short, words are the currency of relationships and I can think of no higher privilege as a steward of my teenage sons than to offer them words of encouragement and wisdom.
So, I want to invite you, the reader, on a deeply personal journey with me. The forthcoming blog posts are really an intimate look at a father’s love for his sons and what I would want to communicate to them as they are on their way to entering adulthood. More than just schooling, business, or obligatory admonitions to avoid drugs, exessive alcohol, or the “bad” kids who have little ambition in life… I hope to be an encouragement as a Dad to two men who really need their Dad — not to tell them what to do, but to simply offer perspective on our whole lives and what being a man in this world could look like.