A lot of peeps have told me I should write a parenting book. Not because I am any sort of expert on the subject.

FaaaaaaaR from it.

But because my take on parent/child relationships seems to have worked, for the most part, for our children.

Knock on wood.

It’s a delicate balance between authority and friendship. A balance that really does exist, though most parents are never able to figure it out.

It’s been kind of nice having my friend living with me because, as she said “When people read your facebook statuses and blog posts, there is no way they can truly understand your real family dynamic until they actually meet your kids and watch how your family works on the inside.” Or something like that.

We’re different. Very different.

For example. My baby chile, Andrew, and his friend are trying to get sponsored by a local skate shop. Now, that alone would usually be discouraged by many parents. They would tell their kids that it wasn’t important. Wasted time. That they need to focus more on “their studies.” Or other some practical educational things.

I, on the other hand. Or, Sarge and I, I should say, do not take that attitude. We encourage his passion. We love it. He is so unimaginably talented. It is truly a part of who he is. Skateboarding was his first love and always will be.

I buy quality skateboarding equipment for him just the same as most parents buy their children $100 graphing calculators or fork over money for marching band trips or school functions.

We buy Andrew trucks and wheels and bearings and boards and grip tape and $60 shoes that he wears out in less than a month.

So, Andrew will be spending the whole weekend with his friend putting together a video of themselves skateboarding so that they can shop around for sponsorships. And they will be taking videos of themselves skating out in town. Yes, they have skate parks here, but they just aren’t the same as real railings and stairs and curbs and obstacles.

We established ground rules. Skate where you want to skate. Do what you want to do. (For real). If you get stopped by security or police, be polite. Don’t run from them. Don’t be a smartass. Just be polite and leave if they ask you to. If they try to take your skateboard (which they have been known to do), politely tell them NO and to call your parents. Yep. I told my kid that. I told my kid that I would have his back. That I would support him.

And for the most part, those are our rules. Follow your state driving restrictions (no driving after 9 P.M. and only 1 passenger in the car). No smoking, drinking, or drugs. Obviously. And if you are in a situation where other kids are doing things you know are wrong, either leave or call me or Sarge.

They will NEVER get in trouble for asking us for help to get out of a bad situation. Even if that means they broke some rules to get there in the first place. What if they’re at a party at 1 AM and realize drugs are being passed around? Or they actually smoked weed and can’t drive home?

Call us. We will help you. And you will not get in trouble. (And no, that has never happened … fingers crossed…. ).

Children, teenagers especially, should never EVER be afraid to call their parents for help. Realizing they have done something wrong and making the decision to not make it worse and ask for help is absolutely respectable and appropriate and brave. Yes. BRAVE.

Sarge and I love our boys with ever fiber of our being. They are at an age where we respect them as individuals, as people of this world with their own loves and hates and desires and passions. We always want the best for them.

We always want them to realize THEIR best. Not our best. THEIRS. We push those things that we know will help them accomplish that. We do push college education as a means to have the finances that will support their passions and loves. We push behavior as a means of being productive and respected members, even leaders, in our society.

We do not push OUR ideals on them. Or we try not to. We push them to discover THEIR OWN ideals.

So yes, I will always be my boys’ #1 fan. I will always support them and have their backs for as long as they continue to give me no reason to lose respect for them through their actions.

So far, they never have– not even once– given me a reason to be nothing but amazed by the kind of men they are growing into.

I think I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that I actually look up to my boys. As role models for my own behavior and happiness. As role models for their peers. And eventually role models for their own children.

Our rules for them are based on common sense, not arbitrary dictatorship or authoritarianism.

And so I say to them both– Fuck society’s expectations and arbitrary measures of success. Know yourself. Be the kind of person you can be proud of. Do the kinds of things that leave footprints others want to follow.