Author: Sean Guilfoyle
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.”
– Michael Jordan
That quote more than anything summarizes my approach to fatherhood. Raising two children can be a daunting task, especially when you encourage trying. We’ve encouraged our children to try lots of new things…basketball, baseball, chess club, softball, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts…vegetables and fruits we’ve never heard of…musical instruments that when played makes the dog howl at the moon. You get the point.
My wife and I have become nearly professional Kid Uber drivers, dividing and conquering, shuttling one or two kids to and fro from one activity to the next. Sometimes, when I can come up for a breath, I think to myself “Why are we doing all of this?” It’s simple: to help build a path to a fulfilling life for our children. All the skinned knees, the dinners in the car, the uniform and clothes changes, doing homework at 10:00 at night…we know that doing all of these things isn’t sustainable, but it’s helping them form interests and build their social skills. Right?
We also know to help get them on that fulfilled life path, they are going to need some help. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but college is expensive! Maybe one or both of my kids will be the next Derek Jeter or Bobby Fischer (that’s a chess reference). But the numbers don’t lie. About 2% of high school seniors get an athletic scholarship for college. How are the other 98% going to pay for school?
When each of our kids was born, we opened a NEST 529 College Savings account. Each month, we have money deposited directly into the account. It’s an automatic and convenient way for us to sock away for their education.
I love sports and love having my kids play them, but there’s a fallacy that if your kids don’t play select sports, they have no chance at playing in college. Think about this for a minute…how much money will a family spend on traveling teams, camps, equipment, tournaments, training and specialized coaches in a child’s lifetime? Would we be better suited putting that money in a 529 account and letting them play rec ball and enjoy playing multiple sports? A college savings account won’t cover everything, but it will help reduce the burden so many kids face today coming out of college, deep in college loans and debt.
We’ll continue to encourage our kids try new things and keep doing some of the same things they’ve grown to love. But we’ll do it knowing that we’re helping guide them toward that fulfilling life while saving for their future - even if it means a ham and cheese sandwich in the car on the way to our next activity. Don’t forget to rate your parents five stars on your Uber app!