What are some choices you made about how to raise me?
Questions asked and answered for my daughters
There are millions of choices that I make every day regarding how to help you grow up, survive childhood, and be a good person. Some choices are more serious than others, but they all contribute to creating the best you… even if you don’t think that’s true in the moment.
In thinking about this, there are 4 themes that I tend to focus the most on, in my role as your dad.
It’s important to me that you are able to take care of yourself, and that lesson started a long time ago. When you were first learning to walk, you would fall down and cry. My reaction wasn’t to immediately pick you up (unless you really did hurt yourself)… my reaction was to encourage to you to get back up on your own.
Awwwww... you’re not hurt, stop crying and get up, you can do it. And you did.
Not only did you learn that you’re capable of getting up when you fell, but you didn’t always need help — or you knew when to call for help. This was demonstrated during Kiiera’s bicycle accident that required head stitches when she was 7 years old. After the crash, you were able to make it back on your own from the crash site to find other people for help (and an ambulance ride). You helped and saved yourself.
When it comes to strength, I mean physical strength in this case. This doesn’t mean that you become a body builder; it means that you are strong enough to protect yourself, get yourself where you want to be, or get yourself out of trouble.
As you grow up, the version of strength encouragement changes, as your interests do. For example, gymnastics was something that taught you balance and some coordination early on, and lately, American Ninja Warrior and the obstacle course that’s now in our yard encourages grip strength, endurance, and controlling your body, in addition to your weekly Tang So Do lessons at the YMCA.
Everything that I help you do is about building confidence in yourself, which will allow you to better deal with the bullies in your life or people that want to push you down. Knowing what you can do and what you’re capable of is all that matters, regardless of what someone else tries to tell you.
I have seen you handle yourself very well, as you help others, like at school with your friends. As you help others, you gain confidence in your own abilities and not let others push you to think like you can’t do something, or do something you know you should not. While you have “double stubborn” genes from both me and your mom, I call it confidence when directed properly :-)
4) Experience it
Experiencing life first-hand can be the best way to learn, especially if done combined with the other qualities. There are lots of examples of this as well, from our camping trips in different locations, to letting you climb up the ladder in the garage to the attic (because you REALLY wanted to know what was up there when you were little).
Helping you get experience helps you learn, but it also helps you manage relationships with other people. For example, I thought it was important early on that you learned technology and touch screens and that you played video games. And, not just any video games, the ones that I play… or we played together.
When you think back, you were well-positioned to have conversations about Star Wars, planning a raid on a base with drones, or solving puzzles in thinking about spatial problems. You could “talk with the boys” because you experienced the types of activities they do and with the topics they played, which created shared experiences with other people that helped you build relationships easier.
It All Adds Up
There are many other categories and examples I could share with you, but you can hopefully see that all of these are interconnected and work together.
Strength builds confidence; confidence builds strength.
Experiences create self-reliance; self-reliance creates experiences…
and so on, as you mix them up.
The choices about how to raise you will never end, and I know that I won’t always get them right… I have and will mess up. As your dad, my approach may be a little more “tough,” but it will shape you to be successful in life.