I know that it’s not just me. The moment I became a dad and even before I became a dad, I had all these amazing ideas, plans and values for this little human I helped to create. For me, there were books that I read at 25 years old and immediately promised myself to get my kids to read it at 12 years old. Vacations that I never had with my parents were definitely going to be had with my kids. Sure, many fundamental principles were taught and put into place like knowing right from wrong. To my sons, never put your hands on a girl or woman. To my daughter, don’t be a “mean girl” and choose to be kind. What about the things that were going to get them ahead of the game as kids or in the future as adults? Let’s talk about what really happened and what we can do about it.
I know that my dad did the best he could to give me the life I was fortunate to have growing up. I’m also aware that he gave me what he had based on what he knew. As I became an adult and started college, I started to see the world through my own eyes. I started to have my own experiences. That’s where it began for me. This theoretical “what I’m going to do with my kids” list started to grow. I remember reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” for the first time and said “I’m going to get my kids to read this at an early age.” It still hasn’t happened yet. The vacation frequency that I mentioned earlier, also hasn’t happened. How many of us learned how to earn, invest and manage our money better later in our lives? Of course, you want them to have this understanding as early as possible! Although my kids are still young, I know that all I have to do is blink twice and they’re going to be adults.
So, what happened? Life happened! I’m assuming life happened to you, too. It also doesn’t have to be doom and gloom situations. Maybe you lived down the street from Disney World in Orlando, FL, but a new and amazing career opportunity that will greatly benefit the family finally happened! This opportunity also took you and the family across the country. What used to be a two-mile trip to Mickey Mouse and friends in the SUV is now a several thousand dollar, request time off from work, hotel booking and potential stress-inducing vacation for the family. With all those things to consider, there are so many reasons why the things you planned don’t come to fruition. Some things might have been beyond anything you could’ve controlled and in other scenarios…you learned what you could have done differently.
It’s not too late for many of us. Sure, your princess is no longer 5 years old, and you never got her that pink Barbie Power Wheel she wanted. Somehow, I don’t think she’d be mad if you assisted her in one way or another to buy her first car. My oldest is only 11 years old and I have plenty of time to make sure she reads “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” Understand that many of these items on our list are things we have been pressuring ourselves with. It’s not our children putting the squeeze on us most of the time. We also can’t knock ourselves for wanting so much more for our children. Not just in material things, but also in life lessons and helping them become the best possible version of themselves.
My advice is to start today. Focus on the little things if the bigger things are currently out of reach. Let your kids know that your desire for them is to be great! Where can you have the biggest impact on them right now? To answer that, find out what’s currently going on in their lives. Maybe there’s a problem at school or handling a crush may be the most important advice or lesson you could teach them right now. For some of you, an apology to your child is what they need to hear. Maybe you said something or disciplined them in a way that was done to a younger version of you. You vowed to never do that to your children, but here you are. You could potentially redefine their life with not only an apology, but with continued actions that give your apology long lasting weight. At the end of the day, plans are just that…plans. Even so, plans are usually one of the first steps in life change. Just remember that all you can do…is the best that you can do!
About The Author – J.LeVar Bryan, Sr.
As a father of four and the founder/CEO of The Dad’s List, his family life inspires his work to recognize the stories of men who are redefining what it means to be a dad. He uses his talents to advocate for fatherhood through a variety of social media platforms, apparel and The Dad’s List Podcast.
To J.LeVar, it’s so important to craft the message from stories and use these resources as tools to engage with those who need to see, hear, and get involved.
In addition to The Dad’s List, he also runs LeVar Legacy Operations Agency. His agency solves simple problems for existing small business owners and those just getting started. From protecting your small business with access to legal counsel to website creation, graphic design, professional photography and video projects. For select clients, he serves as their dedicated Online Business Manager.
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