As a father for over 20 years, I’m able to see some of the tangible results of being a parent and how our guidance has manifested in our children. And quite honestly, it scares me to death.

The reason I say this is because, I have come to understand the importance of being a parent and the subtleties my children pick up from me and my wife along the way. Good and bad.

My parents remained steadfast in their duties, and although at the time it seemed too strict, I completely understand where they were coming from and I reaped the benefits from their discipline and “tough love.”

As a son, it would seem we spend our entire lives doing our best to receive the approval of our father, but it’s my mother that was a beacon of light for me and only fueled my desire to not disappoint her. Ever.

Her guidance over the years – especially in my younger ones’ – gave me the boundaries to explore knowing exactly what was “off-limits” and what was “fair game” as she allowed me to have my own experiences, even though she knew I was shooting myself in the foot.

I would come back to her in tears as she embraced me, gave me some words of encouragement and sent me back out into the world to learn more lessons.

Without this guidance there is no way I could be half the man I am today.