There are many things you will eventually realize that you can’t give your kids. You’ll find, almost certainly, that you didn’t pass them perfect genetics. You’ll discover, unfortunately, that you couldn’t give them everything they want. Perhaps your marriage will fall apart and you won’t be able to give them the perfect family life you intended. Perhaps you won’t be able to pay for college or private school. You’ll definitely find that you can’t give them an easy life, that you can’t totally protect them from pain or frustration, or from cruel and selfish people as we’ve talked about before.
This will be hard, even heartbreaking. Because you want to give them the world. You want nothing more than to make them perfectly happy, but inevitably you’ll come up short. That’s the bad news. The good news though is that there is one thing you can always give them, something that is always possible, always within your reach: You can always give them attention, understanding, and love.
No matter what happens, no matter how rich or poor you are, no matter what mistakes you make or they make, no matter how powerful or powerless you are, you can always do those things. In fact, you must always do them. Because, in the end, those are more important than all the other things. Love and understanding especially are the only things that truly matter, that truly last…even beyond your death, as their impact shapes the adult your child becomes.
And if you think about it, the only thing they’ll truly (and rightfully) resent you for, all else being equal, is if you know these things are true and still you fail to provide them.