10 Things I’ve Learned From My 8-Year-Old

Recently I wrote about the things I’ve learned from Vivi. Well, I’ve learned an awful lot from Addie as well. Addie marks the point in my life where I had to officially grow up. I couldn’t be that same college age kid who was floating through life just doing enough to get by. It’s also the point where I really saw the importance of family. I may not have understood how important it was to spend time with that family, but I saw what family really meant. From that day on I’ve learned quite a bit from this curly headed kid of mine.

Here are 10 things that I’ve learned from Addie:

  • Responsibility 1 of 10
    Addie has taught me about the responsibility of being a father. When I met Casey my grades in college had slipped drastically and they continued to slip until I wondered if I wanted to pursue a different career path—one that didn't involve college. A year after quitting school Addie was conceived and I swore I'd find a way to give her a good life. I re-enrolled in college with my GPA at the time of re-enrollment at a whopping 1.5. I maintained a 4.0 from that time on and raised my overall GPA to a 3.5 and that dedication to high grades was maintained through law school.
  • Having Daughters 2 of 10
    Having Daughters
    Addie taught me how great it can be to raise a daughter. I badly wanted a daughter when Casey and I went in for that first ultra sound, and Addie hasn't disappointed. It's difficult to describe the relationship between a father and a daughter, but it is a special one.
  • Reading 3 of 10
    Addie spends at least an hour out of her day reading books. She's gone through a number of chapter books and she seems to be moving through two or three books per week, and she really enjoys it. Sometimes I'll ask her if she wants to watch TV with me and she'll tell me that she'd rather read her book. Because Addie has found reading so enjoyable, I decided to take a break from my books on tape and the TV and give reading a try. I went out and bought a couple books and a lamp for my night stand, and I began reading. I can see why she enjoys reading so much. It brings a peaceful and focused form of entertainment.
  • Being Unselfish 4 of 10
    Being Unselfish
    Addie has taught me about the importance of being unselfish as a parent. I missed a lot of that kid's life early on because I was focused on work and school. But that's not the only reason I missed out on her younger years. When I wasn't focusing on work or school, I wanted some time to myself; some time to relax and sit back and watch TV. But it never seemed like it was time to sit back and just spend time with Addie. At least not until I realized how much I had missed out on and that I have the rest of my life to relax and watch TV. I only have a few years to spend with my girls.
  • Being Kind 5 of 10
    Being Kind
    This little girl of mine is constantly doing little acts of kindness to help other people feel better. She's constantly writing little love notes and drawing little pictures for members of her family or for friends at school. She's constantly thinking about others and I've seen how those little acts of kindness can help uplift other people.
  • Holding onto Childhood 6 of 10
    Holding onto Childhood
    Addie has taught me to hold onto my childhood a bit. This kid's imagination is constantly going and she loves it if I can get my imagination running right along with hers. Remembering how to think like a child and enjoy things like a child has helped me develop a better relationship with my kids.
  • Not Holding a Grudge 7 of 10
    Not Holding a Grudge
    Addie has taught me that not every bad relationship needs to end with a grudge. Addie has dealt with neighborhood kids picking on her and throwing things at her, but no matter what happens she keeps going back believing that at some level these kids are good kids. When I was a child that type of treatment towards me would have ended in some sort of fight and I never would have spoken to those kids again. Sometimes people just need a second chance.
  • Try New Things 8 of 10
    Try New Things
    The biggest thing Addie has taught me is that some people are just all about love. This kid of mine is so full of love that it astounds me. She is constantly concerned about her fellow students and seeing people be mistreated really affects her in a way it never did me. It's a special attribute that she has.
  • Trying New Things 9 of 10
    Trying New Things
    Addie has taught me to expand my horizons a bit and try new things. This curly headed girl is just like me when it comes to trying new things. Especially when it comes to eating food. How can I tell her to try butternut squash if I'm unwilling to try a mango?
  • Being Less Serious 10 of 10
    Being Less Serious
    Addie has taught me about not always focusing on the seriousness of life. I've been pretty open about my early failings as a parent due to how little I was available when Addie was younger. Seeing how much time I missed of her younger years has taught me that life is about family and everything else revolves around family. If whatever I'm doing doesn't allow my life to be about family then I need to be doing something else.

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