The Kids Are All Right. Truly.

You know, as a parent, you can be wracked with self-doubt and anxiety about what kind of job you’ve done raising your kids.

Did you instill in them the right values? How do they treat others? Do they respect themselves?

Will they only remember the stupid things you did wrong when they were younger?

Did you give them enough support? Did you not give them enough?

My “boys” have just turned 23 and 18.

The older one is on his own after graduating from college last year. He’s a manager-in-training in the hospitality industry, working for a major hotel chain and making more money than his old man did right out of college.

He’s living independently, owns a car, buys his own groceries, is well-regarded by his co-workers and really enjoys his work.

The younger son just graduated from high school, has been a stellar student and an even more stellar friend to his wide circle of friends, has held a number of offices in school groups and activities and will be working four summer jobs.

So, yeah, I think the kids are all right.

And if I needed any more affirmation about whether they learned the right things, I turn for some comfort to this essay my younger son wrote last year:

Ten years ago, my family moved from the streets of New York to the wilderness of the Poconos.

With it, came many challenges such as dealing with the extreme winters. My father, being conscious of this, made a rule that my brother and I had to abide by: wear your boots to school.

After the first month of winter, wearing my boots to school every day became tiresome and uncomfortable.

Becoming irritated by the bulky footwear, I decided to do something about it.

One night, I put my Nike sneakers in a plastic bag and placed them in the backseat of my dad’s car.

The next morning, I put on my boots, as instructed, and got into my dad’s car to head to the bus stop.

In the three-minute ride from my house to the bus stop, I quietly changed from my boots to my sneakers. I then proceeded to board the bus with pride in the chicanery I just pulled off.

Later that morning, my dad found the infamous boots sitting on the floor in the backseat of his car.

Safe to say he was displeased. In the grand scheme of things, it was just one day I didn’t wear my boots.

However, in that same day I did learn that Nike sneakers do not have favorable insulation. In fact, I did not wear my sneakers again until the following March.

The clunkiness of the boots was worth the warmth they gave me. I was fortunate to learn from this situation at a young age that I am not always right.

It was at that moment I realized that there are people who know me better than I know myself — and those people are my parents.   

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