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Steering Into Our Current

The Boy Inside the Man

Last night, I spent a little time connecting with my soon-to-be-15 year old son. As a father, it would be easy to allow his newfound physical presence to paper over the fact that he’s still a boy inside. A warm, loving, slightly detached yet deeply emotional boy. In the frenetic pace of steering into my entrepreneurial current, I am reminded that my beloved son is enduring the slings and arrows of adolescence – the overthinking and overwhelm that envelopes a young man at the very early stages of recognizing that he has his own current to steer into.

The Impressionability Of Adolescence

I can say with confidence that my eldest son will need a positive male role model more than ever over the next 3 years. He will require not just words, but a demonstration of how to understand in which direction his current is flowing, and how to consistently navigate back into the heart of the flow. It’s a bit of a daunting responsibility. But then, it’s potentially the most rewarding as well.

Handing Over The Rudder

We tend to have the impression that good parenting is about steering our kids into the best pool of options available to them. But what if their definition of  “best options” is completely different from ours? What if our kids are less invigorated by our dated (and often protective) view of “best options” and would prefer to challenge more dangerous waters? There is always a point when these kids will reach out and grab the rudder out of our hands. Instead of holding on tight and fighting for control, our biggest challenge as parents seems to be the ability to hand over that rudder.

It’s hard to let go of anything we’ve held onto for a long time. Our primitive emotional minds seem to evolve more slowly than the world around us. We are often unprepared for emotional sneak attacks. But if can muster the courage to let go, the fear associated with handing over the rudder can quite easily turn into admiration and joy in watching our kids find their current. Yes, they will overcorrect left and right and we may wince at the obvious dangers downstream that they seem oblivious to. But every jarring rock they run into has the ability to teach these kids how to find smoother waters…assuming they had full control of the boat.

Learning to Steer

Ultimately we are all responsible for our own voyages. As simple as it sounds, it’s one of the toughest lessons in life. Sadly, many people go to their graves without fully learning this one. Now more than ever, I recognize the importance of showing all my children how to find the current of their choosing. Given their currents will undoubtedly be different from mine, the best way to do this is to demonstrate how I steer my own boat.

Whatever my children’s lives hold in store for them, I can only pray that they become intimately familiar with how their current flows, and that they learn the importance of adept navigation.

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Brent C. Wagner