The following was syndicated from Medium for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].
When I was growing up you were expected to have a certain look, behavior, and interest to fit in with your group at school. Everyone pretty much wore the same clothes, listened to the same music, and partied at the same old location every weekend. This lasted all the way up until graduation, when we all split. Some went to college, some went to work, while others were just lost. I was the lost one.
I spent my entire life copying someone else, fitting in, and developing skills that society said I needed. After that, I was clueless on what to do when I left school. I battled with higher education, but ultimately lost the war. My teachers from the past let me slide by through grade school, because I was the funny kid they felt bad for.
You would think I’m writing this to young boys and girls, but my focus is really to capture the parent’s attention. Looking back, I wish my parents would have challenged me more. Dared me to be different. Maybe even pushed to get creative. That never happened.
I have twin boys of my own now. They’re 6 months old and not a day goes by that I don’t think about what they’re going to be, how they’re going to turn out, or if they’re going to be bullied, popular, creative, etc. It’s just a father’s nature to wonder about his kid’s future. Well, most fathers. I’m not saying I want to run my kid’s life or be in charge of every step. I just want to be able to help when challenges come up.
I want to be able to push when the time is right, and back off when the time is wrong. I understand we as humans have to develop our own path, make our own choices, and grab hold of our future’s reigns, but I also believe a father and mother are responsible for helping teach those lessons early on.
I don’t have a perfect formula on raising kids. Quite frankly, I’m fairly new at it. Like I said I have only been a father for 6 months, and I will probably do a lot of things wrong, but my main goal is to challenge my kids without pushing them away. Challenge them to be different.
Teach them that fear is a choice, but it’s not wrong to choose sometimes. Tell them “fitting in” doesn’t mean being yourself. Show them that education is very important, but might not make sense at times. Most importantly, just be there to listen and pray that God gives me the knowledge and words to reply.
Zach Brown is a marketer by day and semi-pro beat boxer for his twin boys at night. He’s a beginner blogger and expert life servant.