Keep em off the pole!



Another #Tryharder message from the book #Tryharder! Available now!

They say you have one job as a father of a girl and that is to keep her off the pole, but there are a lot more important things in life than just that...

My daughter Erin just received an award from her school for her outstanding character. The recipients of this award are chosen by the other kids in the class and there are only a handful of children in the school that receive this acknowledgment each year. In the elementary world, this is a big deal. Her classmates stood up in front of a large room, filled with the whole 3rd grade, parents and faculty, and presented my 9 year old superstar with this award.

As I listened to her classmates stand in front of a room full of people and talk about my Erin I began to tear up and my heart filled with love. By the way, according to my doctor, love might come in the form of cholesterol, but regardless I was ecstatic as the children read the words that continue to confirm that my daughter is an amazing person. Beautiful inside and out. They spoke of her leadership and how the other kids looked up to her, not just because of her dynamic personality, but because of the calm and logic she brings to any situation as well as her huge heart.

As a parent you have an idea of what kind of kid you are raising, but till you see them as their peers see them, you never truly know who they are or how they are perceived. Yes, you have a relationship with your child, but it's different when you get to experience it through the eyes of others.

There are blinded parents who believe that their little Johnny is an amazing kid. "He's just his mamas little angel". Yet, Johnny has been over to your house or you've seen him when his parents are not around and have witnessed the real Johnny that emerges when he's allowed to be himself. Johnny is a dick. Mom and dad have no idea.

When Erin was 4 years old my wife was student teaching and we had to put both kids in daycare out of necessity. The school was taking many of the kids out to a farm for a field trip and they invited me to come along. After my first school bus ride in many years, we arrived at the farm and the kids poured out into a play area and proceeded to go crazy. I sat back and watched my daughter play and communicate with all her fellow students. This was the first time I got to see her interact with her classmates and I wanted to see who my daughter was in the group. Was she the crazy one? The funny one? The moody one? The naughty one? The one that played by herself? She was none of those children.

She was the leader. As they played, kid after kid ran up to Erin just to tell her what they were doing or ask who they should play with next. I've never seen anything like it. Cool and collected, like a military General, she ran the playground. When kids were being bad, she corrected them. When kids needed advice, she gave it to them. At 4 years old and probably the shortest kid in the group, my Erin was the queen of the playground. It was amazing. And here we are, 5 years later, watching my Erin accept an award based on her leadership and the respect she has earned from the other students.

If I accomplish nothing else in life, it's that my children will be kind and compassionate. I hope that they will be respected and looked up to because they are good people. They will have the lives that others want to emulate and they will be able to fall asleep at night knowing that they did their best with what they had. They will care about the betterment of others and will #Tryharder to not be selfish with their heart or time. What they do professionally matters little to me, just as long as they turn out to be good people who do the right thing. That is all I have tried to do in life and despite the challenges that accompany this way of thinking, I can rest my head at night knowing that I did my best to do the right thing and hopefully earn the respected of others in the process.   I hope my children (and maybe you) #Tryharder to do the same.

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