Last night, I was sitting on the edge of my seat as Cody Parkey lined up to kick the field goal that would end the season for my beloved Eagles.

And he missed.

You’ve got one job, Cody. One job! I could hear the crowd scream.

You had to feel for the man.

As it turns out, the ball was tipped.

All that to say – sure, Cody has one job, but would you like that job?

I have been thinking about parenting lately. I think about parenting a lot in general. But lately, I’ve been thinking about what my job is.

Seriously, what is my job as a parent?

I just spent the last five days with the group I lead. We were talking about our stories. Some of them were so thankful about the way they were raised. Others were not. Others had some serious parent wounds.

Truth is we all have parent wounds.

I’m giving my kids parent wounds.

It sucks.

It hurts to think that my children one day might be sitting with a group of people talking about how badly I screwed them up.

Well, I don’t know about you – but I don’t want my children to do that.

So what is my job?

I’ve been thinking about it lately.

This is what I think.

For my daughter: My job is to make sure she knows she is loved. That’s it. My job is to love her.

Not to coach her. Not to teach her. Not to counsel her.

Sure, sometimes I can step in and perform those roles. But other folks can also do those roles.

The one role those folks can’t do is love her the way a daughter needs a father to love her.

I’ve got one job – and that’s it.

And if I don’t do it, my daughter is going to look for love somewhere else.

I don’t want her doing that.

My job’s a bit different for my son: My job is to make sure my son knows he’s got what it takes.

His question is “Dad, am I good enough?”

My job is to make sure he knows the answer is YES.

That’s my job.

If I don’t do it, he’s going to never measure up. He’s going to play small. Or he’s going to find his worth in something like his job, or what his friends think, or getting the high score on some video game. One thing for sure is he’s going to doubt it for the rest of his life.

I don’t want him doubting his worth.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve been thinking about my job.

I haven’t always done a great job at it.

That’s the sad part.

I’ve had one job…

One job! 

But lately, I’ve been focusing on it. I’ve been biting my tongue and giving my daughter the unconditional love she craves.

I’ve been affirming my son, making sure he knows that he’s got what it takes.

And you know what? It’s actually working.

Ned Erickson

Author Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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