Dear 25 year old Nathan,
Regarding your daughter.
You are not going to be as rich as you think.
This scarcity of funds combined with your selfishness is going to make it easy for you to say “no” to providing things which are best for your daughter.
You will be prove to be a tremendously convincing lawyer when it comes to defending selfishness. It will feel like there is not a jury in the world which wouldn’t be moved by your passionate reasoning. Thankfully, Judge Tamara doesn’t usually fall for it and she dispenses a swift and uniquely convincing brand of justice. You will become increasingly thankful for this as the years go by.
Nevertheless, you do “win” a few cases along the way. You will be truly outstanding in the case of “New TV vs. Figure Skating Lessons”. Your genius move there is to reframe it “Quality Family Time vs. Insane Figure Skating Tiger Moms”.
You will be at your rhetorical best during “Me Time vs. Pulling Your Own Weight Around the House”. There wont be a dry eye among the jurors as you explain how stressful your day job as youth pastor to two dozen students is and how essential your ‘me time’ has become for sustaining your stellar performance thus far as both pastor and husband. This one was eventually settled out of court.
But nowhere will your defense skills be more on display then in the case of:
“Choosing a School for Acacia: The Holy Spirit vs. A Selfish Jerk”
You see, one school is free. One will cost you $300 a month.
Your selfishness is especially magnified in this case because you, yourself, graduated from a private Christian school, and personally know the value of spending most of your childhood waking hours in a God saturated environment. You know what having teachers who prayed for you means. You know what it is to feel noticed every single day. You know what it is like to have good reflexes shaped early.
Yet you don’t necessarily want to make the financial sacrifice which allows your daughter to have it as good as you did. That’s basically a textbook definition of a terrible parent. But you are blind to that as you fill notepads with columns listing the things $300 a month might buy you – a night at the movies, new skates, increased savings (this will create an eye roll from Tamara), and a bigger TV.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit wins on this one. Because you can’t fool yourself entirely. You know what Ms. Nelson, Mrs. Gross, Mr. Mweemba, Mr. Sawatzky, Mrs Britton, Ms. Schroeder, and Mr. Elford poured into you. So many good things in your life came because of your school experiences. It is this “because of” instead of “despite of” which gets through. So you decide you’ll try it, at least for kindergarten.
Eleven years and 30k later you will realize it is one of the best decisions you ever made. If you knew then what you know now, you’d have paid twice and much and not even blinked.
You see, some days it will seem like Acacia is as much a product of her teachers as she is you and her mom. Thank God that influence has been aimed in the right direction.
What I am saying you poor, selfish, cheap son of a gun is what will at the time feel like a heroically sacrificial act of selfless parenting will turn out to be one of the greatest personal investments you ever made paying dividends every single day.