I was raised with a poverty mentality. Do not get me wrong. I am thankful for how much my parents provided and invested in me. And I want to show gratitude for what shaped me in the past no matter what happened; however, there are certain traits in your personality that you keep as a result of where and how you grew up.
I was taught not to risk too much because you may fail. I was told to rely solely on myself because people abandon people. I was told to be ready every day because you never knew when the bad stuff was going to happen. I know it was not intentional rather a product of the former regime in Slovakia and the way the whole country worked. I want to be clear – I love my parents and I do not blame them.
My second daughter was born just a week ago. One of the things that concern me is what kind of father am I going to be. Are they going to be fine? What can I do make sure they will be confident, courageous and full of hope for what future holds?
For a very long time, I was exposed to the culture that worries, fears, and ignores hope. I decided years ago, I want to escape this and start practising the following to make sure my kids understand ‘now’ and they learn to be in the moment. I want to teach my kids exact opposite of what I’ve known for so long.
I give to the poor
I see people on the streets every day. I see people begging for money and I see them selling crappy magazines for the humiliating margin. The other day I bought grapes in a supermarket and a man showed up at the main entrance so I gave the grapes away. God provided to us and I am not afraid to spend extra money for someone who lacks. This is the way I teach my kids to bless other people and they understand because when they give they get.
I do not rush my kids
Grown-ups rush everywhere. We are late to work, get stuck in a traffic jam, we have too much to do in the evening and we tend to take our kids on this ride with us. They are slow to put on the shoes, they walk the streets too slowly, they do not eat their lunch in time. The list could go on. Kids have their own rhythm of the day and I cannot expect them to keep up with mine. I learn to take a moment and be there for them. Child’s mind gets distracted by the piece of rock on the ground and I want to let them explore. I want to let them seize the moment.
I am not afraid to see them fail
“I cannot do it, daddy!” is something my daughter tends to say. And my answer is typically: “You just have to try!” Parents like to protect their kids and it is perfectly fine unless you create a bubble that places a sterile environment so they never get to fail. Let them be in the moment of the failure so they can learn what it feels like to stand up and try again. The older they get the more they will be exposed to how this world works. They can understand the value of failure already now so I am not afraid to see them try. Those moments shape our kids and they teach you to let go.
I embrace opportunities
After 5 years of stability and security, I left my full-time job. Someone would say it was a mistake since I have a wife, 2 kids and lots to pay for in the future. I wanted to build a house! My family and I prayed and found out, it was time to try something new. Out of nowhere I got a job offer in a field I loved and we are moving to the big city. We leave our family and friends behind and we rely on God to show us new people that we will create home with us. Am I crazy? Remember how I was told not to risk that much? Well this is it. I do not worry about the bad days that might ruin my life but I focus on hope and living in the moment. And I will still work and get paid — I would never risk my family’s well being. I want to create a culture in our family that will encourage to try new things.
Living in the moment sounds like a topic that should talk about how I bike with my kids, how I take them for trips and spend those moments with them. Well, that is also part of being in a moment — being present! My culture however, taught me something I cannot get rid of that easily — something that is telling me to keep it down and never expect too much. This is my response and this how I live in the moment and this is how I change my life for my kids.