You Don’t Owe Me a Thing

A letter to my son.

It’s been a week since you were born, but I’ve been thinking about this since well before you were conceived.

The job of a parent is a tough one. It will be hard for your mother and I, as it was for our parents and their parents. We will make mistakes, but will do our very best to correct them.

“No matter what you want, or how you intend to get it, you have to pay a price for it.”

There are many a price to pay when bringing a child into this world.

There’s the physical price of pregnancy itself. After you are born, there’s breastfeeding, carrying you from here to there, sleep deprivation and probably other things I’m yet to realise.

Then there’s time. Your mother and I have a lot on our to do list, from business to travel to sports and so on. You should know that spending time taking care of you, teaching you and exploring the world with you is right there at the top of the list.

Of course there’s money too. The average Aussie kid costs their parents AU$406,001, while an American child comes in around US$234,900. While life in Andorra where you were born makes it much more affordable to have you, there’s no doubt it’ll still cost us a lot over the years.

Over your life you’ll hear some parents say things such as “hey, I made a lot of sacrifices for you”. Or “I could be doing something I enjoy right now but I’m here with you instead”.

I truly feel this is unfair, and I want you to know that you don’t owe me a thing.

Your mother and I chose to bring you into this world. No one held a gun to our heads.

You didn’t choose to deprive me of sleep. You didn’t demand I spend time with you instead of working on my business. You didn’t insist I spend my money on your education, food, clothes and so on.

I made those choices, you don’t owe me a thing.

So as you grow up, you’ll make your own choices too. Some of those choices you may consult me to help you with, but ultimately you have the final say.

Some of these decisions I’ll love, others I’ll hate. But even when I hate them, know that they are your decisions to make. You don’t owe me a thing.

  • You might choose to get a motorbike and ride it fast on the roads.
  • You might choose to move to another country. (We assume you will to be honest).
  • You might choose to smoke.
  • You might choose to go to university. Or not.
  • You might choose never to marry or have kids of your own.
  • You might choose to become a musician. Or a gymnast. Or a scientist. Or a mechanic. Or an office worker.
  • You might choose to follow a “radical” diet.
  • You might choose to believe in religion.
  • You might choose to live a life where money is barely a focus, with no fixed address.

Whatever your choices, and whatever I think of them, remember that you don’t owe me a thing.

So while I can dream up this brilliant life that is available for you, know that what you do with your life is entirely up to you. You have the ultimate freedom to choose, and you have the final say. I don’t want you to be limited by what I believe to be best for you.

You don’t owe me a thing.

2 Replies to “You Don’t Owe Me a Thing”

  1. This is beautiful. I’ve sent it to my son, who is almost 19 and has left home, and shared it with friends (who also think it’s beautiful.) Thanks for sharing it with us.

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