This was originally posted on the Shropshire Family Info blog on Fathers Day 2013 following a request for Dad’s to share their thoughts about being a dad:
All any parent wishes for their children is that the child’s life is somehow an improvement on the parent’s own. That and health and happiness of course. Three simple wishes.
I’m not saying this instinct is automatically a good thing, pushy parents are not a pretty sight, and over protective ones do far more harm than good, but it is an instinct and therefore unavoidable.
For my part, the one thing I wish for my children, and do my best to encourage, nurture and develop, is their sense of adventure. I want them to lift the lid and look underneath it and yes, where appropriate, lick it too. Or, instead of playing on the edge of the stream, to evaluate the safety of the situation, then strip down to their pants and wade right in. I want them to respect authority, obviously, especially their parents and teachers, but I also want them to question stuff, to find out how it works, or why it works, or even why the heck anyone would want it to work. I want them to think things through.
Seek, find, question. Stand alone, if necessary, and wonder why the gate opens that way rather than automatically follow the crowd through it.
Of course, this means that whenever we come to a gate my boys climb over it, or through it, or under it rather than just following us through it, which can really slow us down when when we’re out walking but it’s a small price to pay to maintain their inquisitive minds. The sound of *whiney voice* “Daaaaad!” can sometimes wear thin but I’d still rather have that than simple blind acceptance.
I’d rather feed them with the confidence to put their hands up and ask a question than for them never to know the answer.
It is a very uncertain world that we will be leaving our children, even more so for them to leave theirs. As a grandad as well as proud father the only legacy I can realistically hope to leave, is my absolute duty to pass on to them, is that my children will be as well prepared as possible to face the challenges that the future will undoubtedly bring.