When you are a parent, the most important thing is the well-being of your children. Each child is different, each relationship is different.
A year from now, Tina and I will be approaching the empty nest stage in life. The junior year in high school is a high impact year. It is that stage when you are able to present yourself to the world to see by your own actions. Tests become more important than they ever should be, and the stresses of deciding what you are going to do when you move away from home come to the forefront.
It can be a beautiful time as you watch your children really starting to bloom into who they will be as adults, and it can be a frustrating time when you see them making decisions different than what you would have made for them. But the ability to influence their future switches into one in which they are largely in control. The decisions they make will take them into the next stage in life. Nothing more, nothing less.
It is a good time to step back and take a look at the past, then step aside and let them spread the wings you have helped them to earn. So today, I am reflecting on my youngest son’s life, where he has been and where he is going. I am drawn back to what I consider the best photograph I have ever taken.
I took this picture years ago when we were on vacation somewhere in the center of Australia. I was talking to my son, explaining about the sun going down and encouraging him to focus on it as it slipped over the horizon. This photo marks that moment just as it slips away and it captures the first time my son ever really watched a sunset. It captures a magical moment when I was able to give him a new view of the world.
These days I am more likely to get rolled eyes than focused attention when I try to show him a different perspective on the world. But that is the nature of the world. We each grow up and take control of our journey and our parents have to step back, have faith that they have done the best they can and hope that we come out the other side in tact.
It is a wonderful life waiting for you out there. To have an interesting life, you have to do interesting things. Rise to your potential, you are a wonderful man, a great person, the funniest person I have ever met and you have a great future in front of yourself. Make the most of it by challenging yourself to be your best.