Parenting Toolbox

What Is Your Ultimate Dream as a Parent?

Steve SBy Steve S., Parent of Courageous Cub Jordyn

What is your ultimate dream as a parent? I recently posed this question to myself and answered it in the form of a letter my daughter (currently 9 years old) would write to me when she is an adult:

Dear Dad,

I am so grateful for the father you have been to me. You allowed me to be myself and forge my own path in life, all the while supporting and loving me. I always knew you believed in me, even when I struggled or made mistakes. This helped me believe in myself and develop the inner strength needed to overcome challenges in my life. You were so easy to talk to because you listened intently to what I had to say, without forcing your opinion on me. I felt comfortable sharing things with you because I knew I wasn’t being judged. When you made a mistake or got frustrated with me, you admitted it and were willing to apologize. When you had to say “no” you did it with kindness, and although I may have been outwardly frustrated I knew it was coming from love. Throughout your life I noticed how you took great care of yourself—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—so now I do the same.

Your love and care for Mom showed me that relationships with significant others are meant to be supportive and nurturing, because I saw it firsthand. I remember you two expressing appreciation for each other often and quickly resolving your differences with respect when they arose. And most of all, through your example, I learned how to live an extraordinary life filled with love, joy, and success—unafraid to follow my dreams. Thank you for being my father and for all you have instilled in me.

 Your Loving Daughter, Jordyn

Yes this vision is lofty, and I am certainly not on target all of the time. But this exercise was powerful because it has helped me to consider more often whether I am being the parent that would receive this letter. I am much more conscious in my interactions with her as I keep this big picture perspective in my awareness. I encourage you to do the same exercise and see what arises. What is your dream letter that your child would write to you as an adult?

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