We know that raising kids today isn’t like it was when we were growing up in the 60’s 70’s &
80’s. I don’t know when or how it happened but I do believe it is a generational thing. Not all of
us are guilty of it but I know I certainly am. As we progress, our core values change to reflect the
current times. By this time, one would think as the father of 10 kids and one of the way, I would
get it by now. As a father my love for my children is unwavering. We would do anything for our
kids and that is exactly what we do as parents, anything. We provide them with everything they
need and ask for. Maybe its because we grew up with very little or we remember not being given
what we wanted but whatever the reason, we as parents supply our kids with everything and it
doesn’t stop at 18 or 21 years old. It continues because we’ve made it this way.
I am guilty of feeding my children. That’s right. Rub your eyes one more time, scratch your head
as you ponder “he’s guilty for feeding his kids?” Yes, I am. I gave them everything I didn’t have
and more. I failed. I fished and fed them so they ate well everyday. They didn’t go without.
Instead of feeding my kids, my goal should have been to teach them how to fish, to feed
themselves. My oldest daughter, we paid for her education. When, the right thing to do would
have been to make her pay for it. When it’s earned, most see the value, know the work that goes
into it. They appreciate what we have done for them. However, the message, the lesson should
have been different. They are good kids but as I age and realize my mortality, it struck me that I
will not be here to feed them forever.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson and not to late in life (I hope). Parents, not giving our kids
everything doesn’t mean we don’t love them or care for them. It is quite the opposite, we have an
obligation as parents to prepare our children for a world that leaves us uncertain at times. We
grew up without social media, working for allowance and we were held accountable for our
actions. We went to work and made careers. No one gave us anything.
For more than 20 years I carried around the same worm leather wallet. As time went by and I
became more successful, people would ask me about the old wallet that was worn and beaten. It
served as a reminder to me that, I was taught how to fish, how to feed myself. It reminds me of
where I came from and how things were. If not for those hard lessons and having to feed myself,
I would not be the person I am today. The greatest gift we can give our children aside from life is
teaching them how to survive without us or anyone. No woman should be beholden to a man, no
man should look to someone else to do what he himself can do; provided we as parents gave then
the right tools. Feed your kids and they will eat for a day, teach them how to fish and they will
eat for a life time. I choose the latter. That is going to be this fathers gift to his kidz!
Michelle and Martin Ervin have had the privilege of raising 11 amazing children. We will share #parenting advice, recipes and anything that has to do with our fantastic journey