I always joke that my kids’ favorite holiday is Father’s Day. They love the way I celebrate the occasion by writing each of them a thank-you letter and a generous check. It’s my way of letting them know how much I appreciate the great pleasure and privilege of being their dad. I have eight children, with ages spanning more than 20 years. They have been powerful and important teachers in my life, always keeping me humble and grounded. Over the years, they have given some of my greatest material. If you have ever been to one of my speaking engagements, you’ve heard my stories about them and seen one or more of them on stage with me.
Poet and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, said, “Your children are not your children….They come through you but not from you….though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.” Gibran advised looking at your children, divine beings that they are, with awe and wonder. You might strive to be like them, but don’t try to model them in your image. They are unique souls all their own. I like to say that before I had kids, I had eight theories about how to raise children. Now I have eight children and no theories!
I did have one practice, though, that I tried to implement. I didn’t want any of my children to be raised to believe that they were ordinary. I wanted them to always know that they were extraordinary. This is the foundation of faith for all of us. Know who you are –part of the invisible intelligence, a piece of God – stay connected, stay aligned and you will have all the power of that connection. Children need to know this. Most of us are raised to believe we are ordinary. The anchor of the universe is present in every child. A parent only needs to guide and step aside and let them fulfill their dharma. Help children remember that they can do or be anything. That’s the theme of all my books for children—helping kids believe that they are unstoppable, powerful, and can be anything they set their hearts on.
And so, kids, thanks for another year of making me smile, warming my heart, and reminding me that the love we share is our greatest blessing. Happy Father’s Day!