Oh how you wish you could make sure they never suffered. Oh how you wish you could have prevented these last couple weeks. You don’t want them to be scared. You don’t want them to hurt. You don’t want them to miss out on anything. To tell them they can’t see their friends. They can’t go to prom. To have to say, as many dads are having to say, “Sorry, we can’t afford that right now.”
But guess what? That’s not possible. We’ve talked about this before. As the character in Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha says, we cannot spare our kids the suffering we have gone through in our lives. We cannot prevent them from suffering at all. Because suffering and pain are parts of life.
Our job as fathers then is… what? It’s to raise kids tough enough—loved enough—to deal with what life is going to throw at them. Remember what Frederick Douglass said (a man who experienced pain, and whose kids and grandkids did, too): “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.”
So think about that today. Think about toughening your kids up, think about preparing them for an uncertain future. Because that is the one thing we know for certain. Things are going to be tough. Things will go wrong. More pandemics and emergencies and recessions and heartbreak lay ahead. Our kids are going to have to be ready for it… and it’s on us to make sure they are.