Back To School: The Parents' Perspective

As a new school year rolls around once again, I can’t help but think about how much being a father of 3 sons helped change and grow me personally.  Although my sons have graduated from High School, I can still reach back in my memory bank and remember how each August Kathy and I would spend a good deal of time getting our boys ready for their next year of school.  

Of course back to school shopping needed to be done.  Buying the required school supplies and spending time trying on new clothes to outfit the boys for the upcoming school year were usually fun activities to participate in. But, more importantly there were the August talks with our sons about what the next year would mean in their lives.  Kathy and I would strategize with each of them about the courses they should take, what sports teams or activities they might try out for and so on.  Year after year, August after August, Kathy and I would help prepare our young men for the next year of their lives.  

Those years passed by quickly!  Honestly, it seems like it was just yesterday that Brad (our oldest son) began kindergarten and now he’s nearly completed a degree in Kinesiology.  Kelly (our middle son) has just gotten married and Jordan (our youngest son) is the father to our first grandchild.  The Augusts of our lives have flown by and our sons have grown and changed from one August to the next.  They’ve had successes and failures and overcome obstacles that they thought were going to crush them.  Little by little, August to August, right before our eyes; boys became men.

A funny thing happened while Kathy and I were helping our boys become men...

All of the love, support and guidance we poured into them during that time certainly helped them.  But strangely enough what we didn’t necessarily realize was that while we were busy helping our sons move ahead in their lives, our children’s experiences were helping us grow as parents and as individuals as well.  Year after year, as our sons changed and grew, Kathy and I were forced to change and grow and tackle uncharted territory as individuals and as parents. Sometimes it meant that we had to humble ourselves and admit that we really didn’t know how to handle certain situations.  Some challenges left us reaching out to people we trusted for advice and support.  Other times we were forced to adjust and embrace new ideas and new stages of life with faith in the unknown.  Through every stage of our sons’ growth, Kathy and I encountered new challenges and opportunities that forced us to change the way we viewed ourselves, the way we were as a couple, and the way were functioned as a family unit. 

What I realize now is that the Augusts of our children’s lives forced Kathy and I to learn and grow as individuals and as a couple more than anything else that I can think of.  Each August, while our sons were getting ready to learn new things – so were we! Somehow we knew that if we hoped to achieve the passing grade we wanted to achieve as parents we were going to have to change and grow right along side of our children. 

I truly believe that the successes our children achieve in their lives can in many ways be directly attributed to the way in which we as their parents model growth and learning in our own lives.  For good or for bad we are significant role models for our children.  So as your children head back to school this fall – remember… they are not the only ones who need to learn a thing or two this coming school year.  Help them become all they can be by being a role model they can look up to as they make their journey.  

Enjoy the education!

Co-founder Your Better Life  

Tom Watson

Tom Watson, founder of Your Better Life, believes in the possibility of discovering your full potential, which allows you to become truly successful both at work and at home. He also insists on having fun along the way. As a highly successful business leader, dynamic international speaker, best-selling author, and consultant, Tom Watson has dedicated his life to inspiring people to have more fun while striving for excellence in their personal and professional lives. Tom is a customer service specialist and a true entrepreneur, having built a variety of successful businesses from the ground up, including Recreation Excellence, a highly successful recreation services and facility management company in western Canada.