“Dad, can you ask for chocolate milk?”
It’s kind of funny how such an innocent question from my 8 year-old daughter made such a lasting impression; and not just on me.
It was spring break and my wife and I had decided to take our children on a short vacation. This particular morning started out like our typical morning. My 5 year-old son had gotten up first (around 5:30am), poking my face asking if he could watch TV. My daughter and wife were still sleeping. However, it wasn’t too long before my son was screaming along with the action figures on TV. Everyone was now awake.
We all wiped the sleep from our eyes, got dressed and headed down to the dining room for breakfast. My wife was still half asleep and I was in one of “those” moods. It was at the breakfast table when my daughter tugged at my sleeve and asked, “Dad, can you ask for chocolate milk?”
I replied without hesitation. “Honey, if you want something in life, you need to ask for it. You can have all the chocolate milk you want, but I’m not going to ask for it. You have to do that.” My daughter is shy so she wasn’t too happy with my answer.
She admitted, “Daddy, I’m scared, can you please ask?” Without realizing it at the time, this simple request became an important moment for my daughter and me. Again I replied, “You need to ask for the things you want. You cannot expect others to know what you want.”
After staring at me with those angry-but-loving daughterly eyes, she could see I wasn’t going to budge — and she was thirsty. About five minutes later the waitress came by. I could see my daughter fidgeting with nervous energy as the server started taking our order. And then it happened. My daughter looked up and said it: “Excuse me, may I please have chocolate milk.”
I was proud of her, but I really didn’t think much about it until that night at dinner. We were sitting down and the server was ready to take our drink order. Before my wife or I could get a word out, my daughter politely blurted out to the server, “May I please have some chocolate milk?” My wife and I looked at each other a bit bemused by our daughter’s newfound courage. We were also pleased. After we placed our drink order and the server had left, my daughter turned to me and said, “If you want something, you need to ask for it, right dad?”
I cannot explain how much this moment moved me. Without realizing it, a simple interaction at breakfast had given me a precious opportunity to make a lasting impression on my daughter — to make a difference in her life and help shape her values.
This is the kind of legacy I want to leave for my children. I want to help them learn valuable lessons that will give them a strong foundation for succeeding in life. Something as simple as encouraging – well, actually, in this case, forcing – my daughter to speak up for what she wanted taught her a life lesson that I believe will serve her well in so many other situations.
You see, we are constantly creating our legacy, either through what we do or, in some cases, don’t do. And these moments are important.
I’m sharing this story because I want to remember it, and to save it so that my daughter can look back on it and remember the moment, too. Maybe even share it with her children. That’s how I am shaping my legacy.
What did you do today to shape your legacy? Take a moment right now to preserve your legacy using the tools in MyLifeStories on LegacyShield. And, yes, I’m asking you for what I want: That you won’t let these precious moments in your life be forgotten.