Thursday, March 24, 2016

The List

Recently, my oldest daughter turned 14. It's been a bit surreal as we go to high school orientation and also prepare for her upcoming trip to Spain with the high school Spanish class (she took two years of high school foreign language in middle school). As she celebrates this birthday and prepares for new adventures, I keep thinking of my own journey as I prepared for high school. I remember spending the summer riding my bicycle into the school to work out with the football team and feeling glad I knew people through sports before I walked in the door my freshman year. I remember having crushes on girls in the spring and wondering if they were going to be back in the fall. I remember thinking how glad I was to be exiting middle school and finally going into high school where there was a pop machine and more freedom! I had hit the big time as I prepared to enter my high school of nearly 500 students...and now my daughter is preparing to enter a school of over 5000!

I thought of all the things I was exposed to and all the choices I had to make at age 14 and I think of how much more my daughter must be facing in 2016. It definitely was time to draw some boundaries and make sure she knew exactly what I would tolerate and what I would not. She needed to know which choices if made would result in me washing my hands and that she could not redeem herself of. It needed to be clearly spelled out which offences were not to be spoken of, shared out, or forgiven. In other words, the list of things that would result in the breakdown of our relationship as father and daughter.

I carefully crafted the list and thought long and hard about which scenarios should be included in it. After careful planning, the list was finished and when the moment was right and we had some time alone, I gave it to my daughter. I explained to her that I had once been in her shoes and that she was entering a time when she would be confronted with hard choices, tough situations, and uncharted territory. I've done my best to raise her well and equip her with the confidence and courage to do the right things, but I needed her to know where the line was drawn. It was time to give her the list of offences and choices that would exclude her from me, that I would not forgive, and that I was not willing to discuss with her. She needed to know the limit of my patience and my forgiveness and my love.  I gave her the list. It was now hers to read, reflect on, and hopefully take it to heart. She did. I gave her a hug and she gave me an eye roll, but there were no more words. Then we went back to the rest of the family to celebrate her birthday and plan out her new adventures of travel and high school.

      The Actual List

"When I come home, my daughter(s) will run to the door and give me a big hug, and everything that's happened that day just melts away." - Hugh Jackman 

"The happiest moment of my life was probably when my daughter(s) was born." - David Duchovny

"Many a man wishes he were strong enough to tear a telephone book in half - especially if he has a teenage daughter." - Guy Lombardo 

Girl growing up video (1 minute)


Monday, April 4: School Resumes
                             Celebrate Monday Assembly in gym 9:05-9:25
                             Parent Meeting (Jenna/Jon/Denise) 4:00 pm
Tuesday, April 5: Spring Photos in Gym (am)
                           4th Grade class photo after Spring Photos
                            Red Wings Assembly 3:00 pm
Wednesday, April 6: Achievement Team Meeting (Tracy) 8:20 am
                                  SOTM & MIRM Awards Assembly 3:00 pm
Thursday, April 7: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                               Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm
                               PTA Meeting 6:30 pm

Monday, April 11: Celebrate Monday Assembly in the gym 9:05-9:25 am
                               IEP 2:30 pm (Shannon/Sherry Lynn)
Tuesday, April 12: PBS Committee 8:05 am
                               DSIT (Jon) 5:30-7:30 pm
Wednesday, April 13: Achievement Team Meeting (Debbie) 8:00 am
Thursday, April 14: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                              End of Marking Period
Friday, April 15: No Students - Teacher Work Day


  1. Powerful idea, Jon! We all like to know our boundaries, and you've created a way for her to lovingly know where the "line in the sand" is. Having two daughters, 17 & 18 years old now, there were things that I assumed that they would know about my line, and we have all learned a lot by experience. :-) Thank you for sharing this!

  2. My daughter turned 16 last week, and I wish I would have had this post to read before then. What a great gift you gave your daughter! I am sure this is something she will always treasure and think of before she makes any decisions! (Even if she did give you the eye-roll!)

  3. The list you gave to your daughter is an artifact of your love for her. Thanks for sharing!

  4. As Always you write the most thought provoking blogs. What you did for your daughter is prepare her for the .......whatever and that is a good thing, how lucky is she.