The precious moments in our lives spent with those that we love and care about always seem to go by so fleetingly fast. It feels like just a moment ago that my two, now adult children were just babes in my arms.
Although we’re now spread to the four corners of the world, with Sam in Canada and Zach in another part of Australia our only ongoing connection is with video calls.
I’m thankful that we have technology that enables us to see each other when we talk, but it’s not quite the same as when you’re in hugging distance…
Especially that they are grown and have embarked upon their adult lives.
An important foundational aspect of my parenting was to ensure that both kids were confident and independent .
A great example of building their independence was that they would often spend at least a month and sometimes two over the summer north of Toronto at a summer camp.
Nestled in the Algonquin National Park it was both rustic and idyllic.
Here they could swim, canoe, hike, and play sports all day, and have campfire at night with their friends which having no parental oversight.
Sure, there were camp counsellors, but no parents to make decisions for them.
It also took them away from their phones, tablets and laptops for a well-earned respite from technology for a prolonged period.
However, it was much more than that…
It was an opportunity for them to learn to make decisions for themselves and develop a sense of independence and self-confidence… so important!
Each year after they would return from camp it took them a little time for us all to adapt to life again with each year the changes moving from less subtle to quite dramatic during their teenage years.
Each year upon their return it became an opportunity for me, as a single father to do less talking and telling and more listening.
I asked them questions rather than telling what they could and couldn’t do. This opportunity enabled them to strengthen their confidence around their decision-making capabilities and their values.
Making myself always available to be a sounding board no matter when nor topic.
I can honestly say that they have always been great human being, so I suppose the outcome has been the development of strong values which continue to guide them today.
Another foundational thing that my ex and I did from a very early age was to help teach them about money and how to use it.
Getting them a bank account when they turned seven, including a bankcard.
We then began channelling their weekly allowance into their bank accounts ($1 for each year since birth). If they were seven, they would get $7 deposited into their accounts each week.
As they aged their allowance would increase by a $1 per year.
In this way if they wanted something they could save and plan for it, with autonomy rather than just expecting us to buy it for them.
Clearly, we would help them when required, but this enabled them to have a degree of control over their money. It also was an opportunity to ensure that I wasn’t always the bank of Dad!
Fortunately, their grandfather was a very successful business man in Montreal and invested his money wisely.
When the kids reached twelve, they were introduced to his stockbroker who then set up a small stock portfolio for each of them with their savings and a small infusion from my ex’s parents.
Any money that they received for Hanukkah, or their birthdays was often saved so that when they reached a significant amount it was then funnelled into their stock portfolio.
Since then, the kids have become incredibly careful with their finances, monitoring their portfolios and although both are at university they have saved and invested wisely.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they are both rather frugal!
And it’s not that they don’t enjoy the finer things in life, but they have an appreciation for the money but are super careful with it.
Not such a bad thing.
During my childhood dad worked a number of jobs and although I always admired his work ethic, he was stuck in low pay jobs because he didn’t have an education.
It’s not that he wasn’t smart, far from it. He was able to build or fix absolutely anything. Whether it be an engine, rewiring a house, or building a shed he could do it all…
Something inside me paid attention to this fact and although I couldn’t articulate it at the time, I realized that the only way out was to get an education.
One of the most important gifts that I could bestow upon them as a parent has been the gift of education. Over the years I’ve shared my personal experiences with them which reinforce the value of an education.
Between developing their self-confidence, teaching them about, and how to use money from an early age, plus ensuring that they had a solid education I think I’ve helped them lay the foundation for an extraordinary life.
Until next week
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