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There is nothing in life more precious than our own children. From the moment they are born we only want the best for them—better than we had, more than they dreamed ever of. Most people want that for their own children, but few know how to go about realizing that dream. In order for our children to be successful, we must pass to them two things, roots and wings.
Roots are THE most important thing you can give your child. The roots of a tree holds everything that tree needs to survive. The deeper the roots beneath a tree reach, the harder it is to knock that tree over, come what may. Trees with roots that move just under the surface will blow over and die when the first strong wind comes through.
It's the same with our children. Real values and traditions should be foremost. Don't lie, don't steal, don't cheat. Stand for an adult, pregnant woman or the disabled when there is a shortage of chairs. Shake the hand of any veteran you see and say thank you. Hold doors open. Take your hat off when you enter a building. Leave any place you go better than how you found it. Don't be a product of your environment, make your environment a product of you.
Display those qualities for your kids and the roots start to take hold. Be honest with them, even about uncomfortable subjects. Let them know mistakes can be made and the world doesn't end. Let them know there is "one in every crowd" and sometimes you are going to have someone be hurtful for seemingly no reason. People are bullies. Life will kick the living shit out of you. Not everyone wins. If you don't work hard enough to win, you don't deserve the trophy. Life is a gift and shouldn't be wasted on the trivial.
The roots that run under the surface are the less important things in life. Ford or Chevy, rap or rock, Saints or Cowboys these roots hold information about how many gifts you've bought them for holidays and birthdays. These roots hold little that's needed for much for than a brief and miserable existence. Those roots are fed by desires.
Let them fly.
Wings are tough. Wings are scary. Wings are a crucial part of testing the roots. There comes a day that you have to let them fly. Open the door and send them in to the world. You have to hope that all the roots you've worked so hard to nourish are strong and unbreakable. Here's the thing though, unless your children are put in a situation where they must decide for themselves, you will never know how well those roots are. They will come home, more than once, with an injured wing. Now things get critical. What do you do? Do you clip the wings or do you patch them up and push them back out of the nest?
Don't clip their wings. Let them know that sometimes you have to fly in a storm to get where you need to be. The rain and the wind can work against you, making you feel like it's impossible to fly through that massive storm you find yourself in. You will have to work harder those days to just get enough lift to get off the ground, but you can still do it. If you've nourished those roots enough, it will always be worth the flight through the storm to achieve whatever their goals in life are.