In a BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly post several weeks ago, I mentioned my daughter and the word “date” in the same sentence. In every man’s life, there are a few of those “Ah ha” moments and that was one of them. I’m about to experience another of those life-changing moments.
My oldest child graduates from high school this spring. While attending a recent annual FFA banquet, I ran into several other parents with seniors, and we commiserated about the passage of time.
I don’t feel old, and I’ve steadfastly refused to let my son’s milestone be any special indicator of my mortality. However, I’ll admit that I haven’t been able to fight off aging as well as my wife; she somehow quit having birthdays when she turned 29 and continues to retain her youthful good looks.
Of course, I’ve always believed that a person is only as old as he feels, and I really don’t “feel” old. Still, all the talk about our first high school graduation has been significant from a philosophical standpoint. It got me to thinking if we have adequately prepared him for the “real” world.
We’re proud of our senior; he has accomplished a lot, has matured into a very good leader, and is a person with character and a strong work ethic. So I’m not worried about him doing well as he enters this new and exciting part of his life. But for us as parents, it’s the time has gone by all too fast.
We all plan on being super parents and passing on insights into all of life’s mysteries before they reach that watershed time of high school graduation. It came too fast and if I could hit the reset button, the hindsight would allow me to do a much better job.
I’ve always been a big believer in setting goals, as success doesn’t happen by accident, but by design. I believe we had some pretty clear goals when my wife and I set out as parents. We wanted to raise positive kids with faith, character, integrity and a strong work ethic. We wanted them to find their passion or their purpose in life and we wanted them to be able to think on their feet and solve problems. We also wanted them to inspire others and to be achievers.
Despite those hopes and goals, we were still flying by the seat of our pants. It all happened too fast, and to our amazement, our kids are turning out way better than we probably deserve credit for. While I’d like the opportunity to go back and tweak a few things, I doubt the results could have been better.
But it’s not like I think we’ve hit a home run with our kids, either. Perhaps that moment of reckoning will come when we are packing the vehicle at the end of the summer to send our son to college. The only thing I know for certain is that it all happens too fast, and everyone I talk to wishes they would have taken the time to enjoy the moments just a little more.
The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.
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