For eighteen years you’ve watched them grow from babies in diapers to young adults. For most of us Dads, it seems like only yesterday when your little girl jumped up in your lap, looked in your eyes with a heart full of love, and gave you a sense of purpose in the world.
Nothing would get in the way of protecting her.
Nothing would stand in the way of your undying love for your little girl.
And you would spend all your energy to provide a life better than your for her.
Or what about the first time you threw a football in the yard with your little boy.
His eyes lit up with the dreams of someday playing quarterback for his favorite NFL team.
You were determined to pave the way for an athletic career.
You were inspired to give something back to your little guy.
And every day you were at the office, you just kept thinking about how you could spend more time helping him grow up.
Well, now’s the time they are entering a phase in life where they’re going to spread their wings. They’re preparing to go off and explore the world, learn their place in the world, and carve out their own path. But something inside just doesn’t sit right with Fathers.
Weren’t they supposed to be here forever?
Where did all the time go?
Now, what are we supposed to do?
This last week, I’ve spent time interviewing Dads who have students on The KIVU Gap Year. I asked some simple questions Why did you choose a Gap Year? and What were the biggest hurdles you faced when deciding?
With every conversation, I learned something new. Having five kids of my own, I know this day is coming, so personally, I wanted to know what Dads go through in the process of letting their kids out of the house to become the adults they were created to be.
My dear friend Rusty Goff from Dallas had some unique insights:
“Why did you guys choose to send Billy on The KIVU Gap Year?” I asked
“In our community there is a sense that a parents job is to get your kid the best High School education, send them off to the best college so they can get the best job, set them up to earn a lot of money, and then they’ll be happy.
The definition of success is directly tied to how much money their kids earn after University. But what it all boils down to is BELIEF AND PASSION. You can earn a lot of money and be depressed. I don’t care if you’re a Doctor, a Lawyer, or a Fishing guide. Over time, you’ll be successful if your passionate about what you do.
Andy, you have to help parents see it’s not about the money. If you can get the parents in my community to listen, you need to help them understand their kids are passionate about something and it’s their job to help them find that Passion.
It didn’t take me long to wrap my head around the value of the Gap Year, because I’ve watched Billy’s passion come to life. When he was home, I watched him interact with his friends over Christmas, and he has this ability to connect with his friends on a different level because of the experiences he’s learned on The Gap Year. You guys are on to something special, and I believe The Gap Year is helping students learn their passion, communicate with others, and engage at whatever level they need to form connections with people.”
As I sat back and listened intently, I kept hearing this message ring out in my head. Children are not our own. They’re gifts from God. Our role isn’t to raise children. Our goal as Fathers should be paving the way for our kids to find their passion to become successful adults.
So many of us are stagnant. We want to hold on to the child hood cuteness of old, and very few of us take the time to learn the passions of our kids. Many of us want our kids to follow our way of life. We want them to go to our University. We want them to work in our field of Vocation. We want them to follow in our footsteps.
But what if we changed the model.
What if we had a group of Dads committed to helping our students find THEIR unique individual passions.
Sure it may look different.
They may take a year to figure it out instead of pushing directly to the University.
They may decide to be an artist instead of an engineer.
They may make $30K instead of $300K.
But what’s more important? To wake up at 50 with a big bank account, or look back at a life filled with meaningful passionate engagement in the world.
Some of our students are going to go off and work on Wall Street. There’s no question. They were created to be bankers and financiers. And some of our students may go off to serve the greater good of humanity.
That’s what’s impressive about The KIVU Gap Year, “You guys are giving space for kids to find their way.” Rusty said.
I’ll be posting more of the interviews I’m working on with Mothers AND Fathers who have students on The KIVU Gap Year. If you have specific questions, feel free to post them here, and I’ll ask. I just want to create a place where students can explore, find their passion, and then go off to formal academic training at whatever University will prepare them for a full, abundant life.
I’m grateful for the parents willing to take the time to share. This is such a fun project.