Big Plans

April 16, 2011 12:31am

Dear Children,
     Papa and I just had a good discussion about your future.  We talked for nearly four hours about what makes a successful adult and how we can help you reach your full potential.  It's so much more complicated than I ever could have imagined.  Of course what we want most is for you all to be happy and healthy, but we also want you to be extraordinary individuals.

The main discussion/ debate was this: What does it mean to be successful and how does one get there?

Does a successful teenager equal a successful adult??  If one is an athlete, gets good grades, plays a musical instrument, has a job and is a volunteer in their community will that ensure the child will have a well paying job and be happy as an adult?  Do any of those things even matter later on in life?  I feel like there's so much pressure for kids to succeed and I don't want you to think we don't love you if you're not a certain way.  I want all of you to be confident and happy because you're you and not because you're performing well.  That doesn't mean we don't have high expectations for you though.  We can see your capabilities and we want you to reach your full potential.

What about hard manual labor?  A great work ethic is something papa received from Grandpa Dewey who in turn, I'm sure, received it from Grandpa Foutz.  Papa told me last night of a time Grandpa Dewey took him into the woods and they had to chop down trees and then cut and haul the wood and fill an 18 cow cattle trailer.  Once they had that full they took the wood back to the house and then split it into fire wood and stacked it for the winter.  Hard grueling work for a young lad.  He HATED it at the time, but he's grateful now that his dad made him do such hard manual labor.  It was a great blessing when he was in the mission field and in the army.  When other boys/men were crying or collapsing from hard work papa was still going strong.

How does one have time for hard manual labor (or any job for that matter) if they're dedicated to school and other worthwhile (but time consuming) activities?  We were discussing weather or not it's better to do things for your child or make them learn to do things themselves.  Things such as doing their laundry, cooking their meals,  ironing their clothes, washing their dishes, etc.  What about extra jobs that need done around the house such as sweeping, dusting, cleaning toilets and yard work?  When is there time?  Oh and what about a real job!  Papa and I both had jobs starting when we were 15 up until we left home and then beyond.  If we wanted something beside our most basic needs we had to buy it ourselves.

If you don't work then you have time to focus on studies and extracurricular activities, but are we teaching you to be lazy and have a sense of entitlement?

Do we do the same things for our girls that we do for our boys?  Surely not.  Or do we?  Is it just as important for our girls to learn how to change a tire as it is for our boys to learn how to make a meal?

I'm sure we'll figure it out as we go and of course we'll do things we regret or we won't think of a great idea until Atticus is a teenager.  Just know that we talk often of what we can do as your parents to try and ensure you have great futures.  There are no guarantees and you may hate us along the way, but hopefully one day you'll be able to look back and be thankful for our feeble attempts.

You are truly in our thoughts and prayers daily.  All our love, Mama and Papa


  1. Trey was 11 or 12 when he went with me. He worked very hard. I made many mistakes as a father but I am so thankful my children can learn from my mistakes. I did a few things right but you guys are awesome parents. I love the pictures and the stories. It makes me feel like I'm not quite so far away.

  2. Dewey, Trey tells me all the time about how grateful he is that you made instilled a good work ethic in him. We miss you!!