A proud dad’s lessons on parenting

This month, my twin daughters are graduating from college. The moment they were born, I felt something that is frankly beyond words. Holding their young lives in my hands, I knew that I was completely responsible for them. Our twins weighed 9.6 pounds between them. They were so small. Just after they were born, I remember being in the hospital, with the two of them lying on my chest. I could feel their breathing. Even though I was exhausted, I didn’t want to fall asleep. I wanted to savor every moment. Years later, they have become their own persons. It’s been amazing to watch this journey.

This is a photo of their first day of Kindergarten. I recently visited one of my girls in college and realized that my babies were adults who were ready for the world. The journey is intensely all our own, but I think it also offers a few lessons.

Provide unconditional love. Children need to know that they can always come to a parent or guardian for support without judgment. Kids are imperfect, and they make mistakes. How you handle those mistakes can shape and affect your relationship in positive and negative ways. Think carefully in those moments.

Learn how to let go.
For me, it is the hardest lesson of all. We want to protect and guide our children. But if we hold on too tightly, we limit their growth and potential. Given the fact that I ran the school they attended, there were times I wanted to pave the way for their success. But, I knew I couldn’t. They faced disappointment at times. Those moments helped them grow.

Instill good values. That means having deep conversations about what your family stands for. You can’t control the world around them, but you can influence how they respond with courage, kindness, and morality to the issues the world presents to them.

My wife Thomassen and I are so excited to see our daughters earn their degrees and find their paths. It’s exciting. Colorado Academy had a huge impact on them. They have been cheered on by friends, faculty, and families along their journey. Parenting can produce so much anxiety. But, as someone who has two of my three of my kids launched, I’ve learned that things turn out great.

Final lesson—don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the ride, then stand aside to let your kids soar.