After 18 years, I graduate this week

It was 1995, a little over a year after my wife and I welcomed our first son into the world, and Isaac was given to us.

We jump forward 18 years and Isaac graduates this week from High School. The “formal” ending to us raising him. He jumps from our parental nest.

His brother spread his wings last year and now after a lot of prayer, preparation, and payroll; we eagerly wait for his independence.

Simply said: my wife and I graduate this week. As our younger son walks across the stage, accepts his diploma and switches his tassel to the “other side”; we graduate to empty nesters. Not necessarily in the physical sense (both sons are in a basement apartment for awhile yet); but they’re not under our rules and constant overview.

Have you ever felt that way at the office?

You’ve had a brain child, a great idea that you know will fly. You test it, push it, change things, nourish it. But like raising children, success is not in keeping them under your watchful eye. Success is when you watch a product have a life of its own. When the product becomes bigger than you.

How to raise a “product” and allow it to be successful on its own:

  • Rely on others to help. Many have influenced our kids. We (alone) didn’t raise them. In the improvement process don’t do everything on your own — seek like-minded people to help. You’ll get a better product.
  • Keep your door open. Switch from being the “father” and become the “adviser”. As your product (or child) spreads its wings; keep it in your peripheral vision so you can advise when needed.
  • Expect them to become better than you. My sons are more creative than me. They’ve taken what I’ve poured into them; other opportunities in life; and they’ve excelled passed me. Products should take on a life of their own. Just let them.

I’m looking forward to my post-graduate years. Watching, motivating, encouraging and reaping the rewards. As Dad and as a person in charge of a company.

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