This past September, I dropped my two-year-old twins off at preschool for the first time. This would be the first time in their entire lives that I would be leaving them with someone other than their grandparents. It was the first time that they, and I, felt completely vulnerable. They would have each other, but would that be enough?

As parents we are able to logically answer that question. Its two and a half hours, of course they’ll be fine. However, when it comes to those who are most precious to us, logic often goes out the window. Despite their excitement, I was terrified for my children.

I thought about what I would say to them as I left them for the day. I wanted to create a ritual. I wanted to say something paternal and memorable. I wanted to give them something to keep close to them in the back of their minds for the time that we would be apart. I wanted to give them a goal, an obtainable aspiration, to strive for each day. I wanted it to be something that would be as meaningful on their first day of preschool as it would be the day they left for college.

Have Fun. Be Kind. I Love You.

These are the words that I have said to my children each day as I dropped them off at school. These are my instructions and reminders to my children as they face each day.

I want my children to have fun. I want them to find moments of joy, no matter what life throws at them. I want them to smile in the face of adversity. I want them to laugh heartily and often. I want their youth to be filled with the innocent bliss that only a child can truly experience.

I want my children to be kind. I want my children to do unto others as they would have them do unto them. I want my children to lift others up when they’re feeling down. I want my children to create lasting and meaningful friendships built on warmth, affection and respect. I want my children to be a light in the darkness to those who need it. I want my children to inspire others through their smiles and their actions.

I want my children to know that they are loved. We live in a world that can be not just cynical at times, but downright cruel. I won’t be able to spare my children from all the hardships of the world, but I can always provide them with the knowledge that their father loves them. I never want my children to doubt, even for a second, their father’s love for them. My children will always have a place in my home, in my heart and in my arms. I will never hesitate to tell my children that I love them.

Have Fun. Be Kind. I Love You.

The three simple sentiments that I shared with my sons the first day that I dropped them off at preschool. The three simple sentiments that I have shared with them every day since. Three simple sentiments that I hope they never forget.


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