It was the Fall of 1994 when my dad was arrested. I had just graduated high school the year before. Little did we know at the time that he would spend the next 15 years of his life imprisoned for choosing to make money the illegal way. We would slowly find out the going ons of his life outside our home and secrets would unravel.
Growing up, there was no doubt in my mind that my dad loved me. Up until that day in 1994 he had always shown his love, support, and encouragement for me. But I realize now at age 42 that love alone is not enough. I had no lack of love from my dad. But sadly he chose a path that took him out of my life during my most formative years, a time when I would be faced with choices that would have consequences in my future. Choices that filled my 20's with heartache and bad financial decisions.
There's a picture of myself that my mom has in her living room that I like to look at. A friend of mine from high school that was a photographer always kept trying to take a photo of me. When I see that picture I see so much innocence and ignorance.
I would like to think that had my dad not been arrested he would have talked to me about finances and making smart choices in life and that every decision has a consequence. There's a reason they say hind sight is 20-20. Because in all honesty, I realize now that if he had not been leading by example up to that point, that talk probably would have never come as I entered life as an adult.
Which leads me to think more and more about our girls. My greatest desire is for us to equip them with the resources they will need to make smart choices. To lead by example that life is not just about instant gratification. That hard work, having a budget, and saving your money is key to not living paycheck to paycheck.
Love is essential to have in life but it is not enough. That in life you can not live driven by desire. I want us to leave a legacy beyond love in which our girls will understand that their choices will have a direct impact on their life. I want them to hold themselves accountable to the good and bad decisions they make. To know there are consequences. Because when we pretend that the world is safe and enclose our kids in a bubble we take away their resilience. We make them susceptible to dumb decisions.
Creating that for them begins now, not when they're 18 and entering life as an adult. Every day is an opportunity to teach them. So when they do enter the work force, begin their educational journey, and choose to get into a relationship they consider each area as a choice that will have good or bad consequences. That each area is an investment into a better or worse future.