How I know I succeeded

Like most parents, I’m proud of my kids and what they’ve accomplished — especially considering I’m their father (To quote a Ben Folds song, “You’re so much like me. I’m sorry.”) They’re all far braver and more accomplished than I was at their age. While that’s gratifying, I was reminded this morning about an important measure of success.

Shortly after I arrived at work, I got a text out of the blue from my middle daughter. In its entirety, it said, “Just thinking about you this morning. Miss you and love you. :)”

A bit later, I checked my personal email. Monday night my oldest daughter emailed my wife and me about a potential career road bump. As usual, my reply Tuesday morning told her exactly what I thought but as graciously as possible. I saw her reply this morning. It started, “I FREAKIN’ LOVE YOU!! Your email actually helped a lot, so thank you! :)” (They both apparently like emoticons, something they didn’t learn from me.)

It’s easy to tell kids you love and support them. Yet it doesn’t t mean much if that’s not put into practice. When they lived at home, attending and supporting their activities, functions and interests took precedence over anything else. Even making it home in time to have dinner with them was a priority. Once they leave the nest, telephone calls and emails are important but I make it a point to take time off when they have the opportunity to come home. Not everyone has the same scheduling freedom I do but, regardless of any business or economic cost, you can’t be there when your kids need you if you’re not there otherwise.

Granted, this is somewhat boastful. But I know in a heartbeat that just what I got this morning is far more valuable than more money and material objects.


Language is euphemism. Love is truth.

Matt Haig, The Humans

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