I get the pleasure of writing the Blog post for the week of Father’s Day. This couldn’t be any sweeter for me considering I find it my greatest pleasure and joy in life is being a father. For the record I have 4 children aging in range from 13 years old to 9. My oldest is Josiah (13), then Ethan (12), Eliana (10, my only girl), and Samuel (9). Every one of my children holds a special and unique place in my heart and they are the reason I try to live my life in such a way as to leave a legacy for them to follow. To try and write out what that means would take a book to explain. If I could sum it up in a single sentence it would be this:
To love life and make the most of every opportunity, failure is a lesson and success is a blessing to bless others with.
I want to share a couple of stories that hopefully inspire other fathers to make the most of the short time we have with our children as kids. My first story is about a time I had with my 2 oldest sons. A couple of years ago I took them both back packing and camping for a night at a remote lake about 30 miles from our home, we were able to get the best camper for this trip, we also gave use to the caravan storage. The intent of the night was 2 fold. The first was just to spend a night together in the wilderness camping and fishing together. The second was to have “The Talk.” If you are not sure of what “The Talk” is, go ask your mother 😉 My wife and I decided to take a proactive approach regarding this subject considering all the garbage out there that paints a lie about it. We figured it was better to instill the truth first, then to combat a lie later. After about an hour of one of the most humorous conversations I’ve had with my 2 oldest sons explaining the birds and the bees, it was time for them to hit the sleeping bags for the evening. I think they were relieved to go to bed considering the subject matter of the night. I put them both down in the tent and came back out to the campfire for a little alone time under an incredible evening of stars. I sat back on a log and proceeded to light up a cigar (a rare treat when I camp) and stare off into the black night pondering if they understood the importance of our discussion. About 5 minutes later Ethan came out of the tent and asked if he could sit with me. I put down my cigar and he crawled up on my lap. After a couple minutes of silence he looked up at me, placed his head on my shoulder, and said, “dad do you know why I came out here?” I responded that I didn’t know why. He then said, “I just wanted to tell you I love you.” My heart instantly fell to pieces and I instantly teared up and expressed my love for him. At that moment I understood that he knew what a special and important night the evening was to me, and to him.
My second story is from just last week. Samuel, my youngest, decided it was time to learn how to ride a bike and he asked me to teach him. I am from the old school on this and feel that training wheels are prohibitive, especially for a nine year old. So, I stated Sam off on his older brother’s bike. I adjusted the seat and handle bars to fit him, put him on it and gave him a push. The initial ride was decent, about half way down our driveway followed by a crash in the yard without any injuries. Unfortunately it only got worse for The Bear (our nickname for Sam). He must have tried 40 times all ending the same. Crash to the right, crash to the left, skinned knees, handle bars in the leg and stomach, tears rolling down the cheeks. This is one of those times as a dad where it is tough to draw the line between pushing your kids to succeed, but not too far that they are afraid to even try. We had several talks about what we do when we fall, and why it is important to keep trying and so on. I told Sam once he made it 1 length of the driveway he was done and we would go inside and eat dinner. At one point I thought to myself, “this must be the longest driveway Samuel has ever seen!” Finally, after one more pep talk, he made it all the way to the end. No crashes, or stumbles, he even applied the brake correctly and stopped without laying the bike over. We both broke out in a cheer and high 5’s. I don’t recall ever seeing him more proud of himself. I grabbed his face and looked into his eyes and assured him that I believed he would do it all along. His response was great, “I knew you believed in me too dad.” Every day since, when I get home from work Sam has to show me how much he has improved on his bike. Today’s progress was he can now stand while riding!
What competes against our family
It is these special moments with my kids that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Owning an internet business, trying to start a coffee business, remodeling our home, being a husband, a father of 4 kids, ect… life competes for my time. I don’t want my kids or my wife to ever feel like they compete for my time. God knows I don’t succeed at this, but I’m learning. As dads or just as parents in general, our time with our children is precious and fleeting. I have to discipline myself to stop and listen, be attentive, leave my laptop in the car when I get home, stay off my phone, the list goes on. Being conscious of those things that compete against our kids I believe is the first step towards making them know they count more than the arbitrary things that could pull us away.
So, what does this have to do with coffee…nothing! The only thing I could pull into this is from the beginning of this blog. I have made my kids apart of what Mission Arabica is doing by talking with them about the mission. I have them taste coffee with me. Show them different brew methods. I let my oldest son make ridiculous coffee drinks. Most importantly I share with them our failures in what we are doing and I share with them our successes and how those successes will impact people around the world. Every time my family pours a cup of coffee they understand the impact it has on someone half way around the world. Dads and moms, whatever you do in life, bring your kids in on the ride. They want to be a part of every aspect of your life. Let them see your failures and successes and let them be part of the impact you can have on other people’s lives.