By Joan Janzen

A kid said to her dad, “Happy Father’s Day! I got you a present, but if you want to get technical, then technically you bought it. By the way, can I borrow $20?”

Becoming a father is way more significant than just being able to change your facebook status. It involves much responsibility, but is also very rewarding. Canadian Jordan Peterson said that “the higher the level of responsibility you have, the richer your life will be”.

Peterson was speaking to his audience about being a dad. “You have a moral obligation as a parent to encourage your child to go out in the world and be the best they can possibly be. You’re encouraging them to pursue the good; you’re sacrificing them to the good. You’re telling them they can go out and live their life and live it properly,” Peterson said. He also said that fathers shouldn’t want for their child, whatever it is the parent wants for their child, but instead should want what is best for their child and for the world.

He emphasized the importance of a child accepting responsibility, beginning at a very young age. “As the child matures, you pull back and allow them and encourage them to do more things by themselves, so they can learn how to do it in the future. Not allowing them to do this will compromise their independence,” he advised. “Encourage your child to be the best possible person they can be.”

It may be appropriate that, not only is Father’s Day celebrated in the month of June, but graduates throughout the world celebrate their independence as they make their exodus from high school. “You want them to move forward into the world as a light on a hill,” Peterson said.

But practically speaking, how can fathers maximize the potential of their child’s future? Peterson answers by saying, “If you want the future to turn out ultimately well, you have to be willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice.” Meaning, you have to be willing to let your graduating child move on into independence. But a dad’s role in his child’s life provides vital preparation before that time comes to pass.

“Without the encouragement of a father it’s difficult to be a courageous person,” Peterson said. “Fathers should impose the highest standard of behaviour on their children by encouraging the best of their child to come forward, without swinging too far towards judgement.”

Peterson said the idea is to help your child become strong, so if anything happens to them, they are prepared and ready. “You want the best in your child to emerge,” Peterson said.

If Peterson were to give a commencement speech to a graduating class, he would very likely speak about responsibility. “You should talk to young people about responsibility,” Peterson said. “They already have more privileges than anybody who has lived anywhere, but everyone talks to them about their rights and privileges. No one tells them that the higher the level of responsibility you have, the richer your life will be. Kids are starving to hear that, but no one ever tells them!”

He urges young adults to get a complicated job, try to solve tough problems, help those who are suffering … all of which involves much responsibility, but also has deep meaning and is rewarding.

“Tell them ‘you are more than you think’. Tell them to stand up and do something difficult, something heroic. That’s a good message. That’s a necessary message, because we have to be more than we are if we want to more forward in a good way.”

The encouragement of a father helps create courage in his children, so they can go out and share that courage and their talents with the world.

You can contact me at joanjanzen@yahoo.com

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