Friday, April 27, 2012

Guest Post: So, Dad, Did YOU Earn a 4.0?

This is a guest post from Dennis Trittin, a money manager, educator, and mentor committed to helping young people reach their full potential.  Dennis is the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead.  He and his wife Jeanne have two children.

One of the most defining moments in any dad’s life is when his children “leave the nest.” It’s a time of reflection and anticipation…and conviction about how well you prepared them for success in life. For you younger dads, just wait!

The first time it happened to me, it literally changed my life. It was August, 2008, two weeks before our Michael would head for his freshman year of college. It was then I experienced an unforgettable “dad moment.” I found myself asking one profound question after another: How had I done as his father? Did I cover the bases? How will our relationship change and grow? Did I earn a 4.0? Yikes!

Honestly, I felt so convicted by these questions that I rushed to my computer and began to list all of the life wisdom from the amazing leaders I’ve met in life. Fundamental questions like how one defines success and demonstrates honorable character. Or, how one builds strong relationships and communicates well with others. Or, how one handles adversity and becomes a masterful decision maker and time manager. Then, I turned to the key upcoming decisions he’ll face, like his academic transition, his career strategy, choosing a spouse, and managing his finances. My mind was bombarded!

In one sitting, I developed a list of 100 life success pointers!

So, how do you earn a 4.0 in preparing your children to thrive as adults? In a nutshell, an empowered and successful father focuses on the following:

  • Destinational Preparation: providing a comprehensive vision for an honorable and productive life and before-the-fact wisdom for key upcoming decisions
  • Relational Preparation: evolving your parenting style from “control” to “influence,” based on mutual trust; demonstrating your unbridled belief in them and confidently “letting them go”
  • Transitional Preparation: ensuring they get off to a strong start in those critical first 3-6 months after leaving home; helping them avoid common “derailers” such as impatience in making new friends, excessive stress, lack of study disciplines, and engaging in harmful activities
Interestingly, after sharing these ideas with several leaders, they urged me to turn it into a conversational book of essential life wisdom for young people and the adults who guide them…like fathers! My book, What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead, is an invaluable, third party voice for parents and a rare book they can enjoy together with their teens (when they don’t always listen!).

I hope What I Wish I Knew at 18 can serve you as a destination guide for your children’s milestone launches into adulthood.

More information on What I Wish I Knew at 18 can be found on, and the book is available on Atlas Books, Amazon, and in bookstores.

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