by Jim Fannin

Over thirty years ago, I remember driving home with my wife and newborn daughter from the hospital. It seems like yesterday. Days before I had purchased a new VCR (remember this?). It came with an operating manual with diagrams and detailed instructions. The hospital gave no such manual for my infant daughter. Now what do I do? Three decades later she is a grown, independent married woman with a child of her own (my grandson). Time flies. Trial and error helped us write the manual by ourselves. Do you raise your children like you were raised? Or do you do the opposite? Or is it a compromise? What should your vision be for your kids when they finally move away from the nest and start their own life? Independent? Good character? Responsible? Solid values? All of these?

Our children are only as good as what they think when we aren’t there.

I believe the single most important thing we can give our children is the ability to make positive decisions based on carefully gathered information. Solid decisions made especially in a crisis or moment of truth. Understanding the dynamic of risk and reward. Knowing that the next move they make under those conditions and circumstances will alter the outcome of the event. And they choose with wisdom. Will your child listen to their inner voice? It only speaks once. And it whispers. Will they dismiss it? Will they let reason take the reins? Will they not believe its all-knowing power? Do I get in that car? Do I go into that room? Do I walk down the alley? Do I say NO! Sometimes we need to let them fail so that lessons can be learned…especially at an early age. Too many times we won’t rock the boat because we don’t want to upset, hurt or even lose our “friend.” Forget friends. We are the Parents. The Coach. The Guide. It’s time to parent! Teach your children to think on their own. Let them fail (on the small, insignificant matters) if their decisions are wrong. And let them pay the consequences. Show them the power of the “inner voice.” Help them become decision makers of the highest order. And when they drive home from the hospital with their spouse and newborn, they’ll have a manual for raising their own.