Even though I grew up in the temperate climate of the Monterey Peninsula, my favorite sport as a kid was hockey. I was very close to my paternal grandparents who were refugees from Czechoslovakia. Prior to World War II, my grandfather – Karel A. Krasa – was a prominent hockey player, coach, and manager. He was even featured in an article from The Hockey News in 1949. He would tell me stories about playing hockey on frozen ponds in Bohemia. Without any frozen ponds on the Monterey Peninsula, I started on inline skates and occasionally made the trip to our closest ice rink in San Jose. One would think that my grandfather would be thrilled that I carried on the tradition. However, he was very practical. He often told me I should play golf instead since we were surrounded by world-famous golf courses instead of hockey rinks. I know that he was proud nevertheless.
When my son was two, I started taking him to ice skating lessons in San Jose. Originally we were in a “parent/tot” class that was held on Wednesday evenings. I would leave work early once a week, pick him up, and together we would make the journey to Sharks Ice. He later “graduated” to a Saturday morning class and I soon realized that I was not going to be able to “undo” what I had started: he developed a passion for hockey and as long as Monterey didn’t get a new ice rink, I knew I was destined to commute to San Jose and beyond for the rest of his childhood! I also continue my passion and play hockey in San Jose about once a week as well. I often joke that although I only live a few miles from my office, I still “get my commute in” for hockey twice a week.
One might wonder why I go to all this trouble just to get my son some ice time. First, I do it because it is a passion that we now both share. Developing and nurturing passions makes life much more rewarding and fulfilling. It’s worth all the time, trouble, and expense to see my son grinning behind his protective facemask, celebrating a goal, and giving fist-bumps to his imaginary teammates on the bench. Additionally, hockey teaches him coordination, patience, perseverance, hard work, how to follow instructions, how to work cooperatively with others, and discipline. Whether he becomes a star college or NHL player or not, his ice time each week has immeasurable intrinsic value. I therefore am willing and eager to keep this weekly (and soon-to-be more frequent) commute up for as long as my son enjoys the sport. However, what would happen if my wife and I passed away prior to my son growing up? Would his guardian take the time and effort to continue to nurture this passion and other passions that he might develop?
Parents often assume that they will always be around to raise their children. However, it is of critical importance to make sure that there is a detailed plan in place in the event that tragedy strikes. Naming appropriate guardians in the event of your incapacity or death is the first critical step. Another critical question is: “How would you like your children to be raised if you were not there?” The most common answer is: “The same way I raise them.” But what is that way and how do you express it?
First, you want to think about your values. Are there certain books or movies that embrace those values? What relationship would you like your children to have with their religion as they grow up? What spiritual activities would you want them to participate in? Is your family’s ethnic or cultural background important to you and how would you want your guardian to foster your children’s experience and knowledge of that heritage? And yes, how much hockey do you want your child to play?! The answers to these questions can often help you to formulate guidelines for how you would want your guardian to raise your child in your absence and can even aide in the selection of the most suitable person to fill that critical role.
KRASA LAW is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, PG, and Kyle may be reached at 831-920-0205831-920-0205.
This article is for general information only. Reading this article does not create an attorney/client relationship. Before acting on any if the information presented in this article, make sure that you consult a competent attorney licensed to practice law in your community.