No, this is not, originally uploaded by Lady Pain
An article told me to think about my goals for our unborn child. I believe that setting a specific goal like "go to law school" or "be the next Brett Favre" would guarantee eventual disappointment and resentment, for the parents and the child. I mean, come on, nobody can break his interception record. Hey-oh!
Anyway, instead of scheduling her path through life, here is a list of five qualities that I hope to imbue in our daughter. I will consider myself a success as a father if she feels:
Competent. Confidence is over-rated. When I was in elementary school, the buzzword was "self-esteem." The result? A generation of cocky kids with a shortage of ability to back up their hubris. In addition to feeling good about herself, I want my daughter to develop skills and talents that enable to do good.
Strong. Strength of character is, again, similar to healthy self-esteem but goes deeper. Confidence is necessary to succeed, but a strong individual can persevere in the face of failure. I hope my daughter will attempt new things even when she isn't confident of success. Beyond equipping her for victory, I want her to know that failure is an option: it's okay to mess up, as long as you are trying.
Curious. I'd be happy if my daughter is at least a little bit geeky. You know the phase that kids go through, when they're always asking, "why? Why? Why?" That shouldn't be just a phase. I want her to keep asking questions, and learn to find the answers, so that when I'm a confused old man she can explain to me how the world works in the future.
Safe. On the hierarchy of needs, safety is pretty basic. I still think it bears repeating. In order to facilitate my daughter's personal growth and exploration, one of my primary goals is to provide a secure "home base" where she is sheltered from the dangers of the world, but still free to make mistakes and experience consequences: safety, but not at the expense of freedom.
Loved. Rolled into the concept of security is the existence of a loving family. No matter what happens to her or the choices she makes in life, my daughter will always be loved, welcomed, and accepted by her parents. More than anything else, I wish that she would feel that she can always come home again. I will always love my children, and I will strive to be the kind of father who is deserving of their love in return.