This I Believe

David - Mishawaka, Indiana
Entered on September 13, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in my responsibility as a parent to my daughter. When I brought her home from the hospital for the first time, I was briefly struck with fear. Here was a life that depended on me for survival. I no longer had the nursing staff or physicians to be my safety net. I was terrified of all of the things that could go wrong. But I determined in that moment that I would embrace this new responsibility and own it. Even before she was born, I noticed that we, as a society, place a lot of expectations on the world we live in. We expect warning labels on our music. We demand that advertisers stop targeting our children. We blame fast food for making our kids obese. We blame our children’s poor physical shape on television. We bemoan the inadequacies of our educational system. We condemn society when our children commit crimes. The list goes on and on. I believe that there is a common thread in all of these things that is missed by most, and that is parenting. When are we, as parents, expected to be held accountable? I believe that, as a parent, I am ultimately responsible for my daughter’s success or failure. I will not expect the government, the educational system, the church, the entertainment industry, the fast food industry, or society to raise my daughter. I am her father. I must teach her right from wrong. I must nurture her self-esteem and teach her to believe in herself. I must be engaged in her education. I must keep her safe, and teach her how to look out for her own safety. I cannot be with her every minute of the rest of her life, but I can teach her and prepare her for life. No one else can be held accountable for this task. My daughter is a gift from God, and I have a responsibility to love her, to care for her, and to make sure that she is ready when it comes time for her to live on her own. I am my daughter’s father, and I am ultimately responsible for her. This is the most important responsibility that I could ever have. This I believe.