What Is a Parent’s ‘Mission’?

Since writing the post about parental “best practices,” I’ve received quite a few emails from others about the topic, as well as parenting in general. All this made me wonder about goals. I mean, companies have goals, and so, why not parents?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about homework and grades. Man, my kids get a lot of homework and feel pressure from their teachers to do well.

I recently told one of my kids, who has been staying up very late: “You know, maybe give yourself permission to get some B grades.” The reply: “No. You worked hard, and it all worked out for you, didn’t it?” I stumbled verbally for an answer.

So, I’m thinking of a framework:

1. What is my Mission as a parent?

To get my children to heaven.

To guide them to be people with high character and evident virtues.

To have them become aware of, develop, and nurture personal authenticity.

2. How do I do that?

I lead by example. Through word and deed, I strive to develop character.

I blog openly about what I’m thinking and my own personal challenges, so that they today, and after I’m gone, can see what I’m encountering, overcoming and experiencing.

3. How are grades a part of their development?

Grit, or strong “spiritual muscle” as Tony Jarvis writes, is a part of character.

Grades are a metric that measures both ability and grit. Some children have both, some have one. In both cases, you want them to develop grit.

I encourage the child to persist and to be happy with whatever grade they get, as long as they have tried within reasonableness.

I make sure that I love that child unconditionally, regardless of grades or grit.

I praise hard work, not natural ability.

All this reminds me of when I started Kepha. In 2nd grade, one of my children had a vocabulary assignment. In one, she had to use the word “hero” in a sentence. My wife showed me the homework. It said something like: “My Dad is my hero because he quit his job and started a new company.”

Man, fundraising alone for an inaugural fund was excruciating. It was a great deal of suffering. No joke. I’m glad it all worked out. And, I’m glad that my children witnessed the process.

I had very much underestimated how much my children would internalize my own entrepreneurial journey. This is a reminder to myself to take great care with my words and behavior at home, that I must lead by example.

My kids are watching.

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