I love being a dad to my three daughters. It has never been easy, as each one of them has kept me busy trying to lead them and guide them via my own example. I know I have not always succeeded, from time to time, at that one seemingly simple task of being a parent and a father to three beautiful and intelligent young women.
It was relatively simple to be a father to my girls when they were young. All I needed to do was to love them, feed them, and entertain them. I accomplished this by introducing them to our natural world and the various means of travel (sport) within that beautiful and expansive world. Naturally, they learned how to run, climb, swim, canoe and kayak, cycle, ice skate, and ski at a very early age. I also taught them how to camp, in a semi-wilderness setting, and be hunter/gatherers by teaching them to fish and gather berries and other edible foods in northern Saskatchewan.
Learning to be self-sufficient in an outdoor wilderness setting produces an excellent skill-set for coping successfully in the jungles of any major city worldwide.
I tried to introduce them to sports or skills that would not be predominantly tied in to expensive facilities like gyms or arenas and/or something that would not be practically sustainable when they reached adulthood.
I also taught them to love animals and be respectful of their natural surroundings, and to take pleasure in the simple things of life. When we learn to love and respect creation, it is not difficult to love and respect the pinnacle of creation – other human beings.
The most difficult principle to teach each of my three girls was to make good and timely decisions based on the education, experience, and information that they had at their disposal. Making career and other life decisions does not happen overnight. It takes years to build good character, knowledge, and skills in order to make proper life decisions.
Winging it without a proper foundation often leads to disaster. In other words, one cannot go through life being impulsive and making spur-of-the-moment decisions without often leading to painful and tragic mistakes.
As a father and a parent, my job now is simply to be a sound board – a counsellor to my girls. I can offer them advice based on my own life experience, but I cannot make decisions for them. They and they alone are responsible for their choices and decisions as young adults. I will always be there to encourage them, console them, and pick them up when life throws a curve ball at them. Sometimes, it is very difficult just to remain silent when I feel one of my girls may be making an inappropriate or wrong choice – at least as far as their mother and I am concerned. Learning to let go is part of the process of parenthood, especially for a father. As a dad, I am very protective of my girls and would go to great lengths to spare them from unnecessary pain and sorrow.
Let go and let God is my personal motto these days. After all, my children, now adults, belong to Him. Their times are in His hands.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV
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