Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC – 479 BC)
There is a truism in my life that I see, unfortunately, in action frequently. It is the old “do as I say, not as I do” and it’s largely unattractive paternal twin “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Yes, we called our parents on it, and as time goes on, I get why, through it all, “doing always the right thing” and “acting smarter than the other guy” doesn’t mean we don’t have to face certain realities, learn from repeated mistakes and wallow in the stymied pool of universal poop pools. Where am I going with this?
I think of the advice i have given my daughter over the years. It starts with the stuff that has to do with taking care of one’s physical being like “don’t drink too much, eat too much or sleep too much.” Then what do we do? All of the above. Yet some times, we don’t drink enough, eat enough or sleep enough. Why, because in our own drive to create a vision of perfection for our children, we miss the point: we are all human beings. We have needs, wants, desires and failings. We have good days, we have bad days. We make right decisions, we make wrong decisions. We are faced with difficulties and remember why we cashed in the 401k last time when we swore to our kids up and down it was the dumbest thing ever to do.
We can say to ourselves, always have X amount somewhere for emergency, but how often do we have it.
Never miss an oil change? Please.
So maybe the most important thing i can teach my daughter, my wonderful blessing of a child who has become an adult, is one of forgiveness. One must learn to forgive ones self, as well as others who let them down. I am sorry if I tried to create a perfect person for you to love as your daddy. But I am not sorry for trying to be that person who sees no limits, for being that person who is not afraid to have his heart-broken, for being that person who is not afraid to step out on the ledge not to come crashing down but to see a glorious view, just so he could share the story with you and any other little wide-eyed young uns he is blessed with along the way.
I can only show you the man I am, one with failings and flaws yet resiliency and tenacity. one who cries at times but mostly laughs. One who speaks, and speaks and speaks…. but I swear this is true – loves to listen to you and the loved ones in his life. And also loves to make friends of the strangers he meets and hear their stories, too…
We know these days may leave scars but need not be wounds always. Times are tough, anger inciting and faith-halting some days. Yet I have some places to turn, and am grateful. I love my parents for trying their best to always tell me the truth lies in your own action, your own answers, and they always moved forward in an effort to improve our lives and always, always listening. I miss them, I miss the family that is not here and the family I don’t have yet, mostly because i think that no matter how big or small that is what matters most. I cherish what all of you have given me… ears to occasionally slow my mouth, eyes to guide my heart…. and senses to know what and where I am for the long run, even if “who” is an ongoing, constant exploration of challenges. True loved ones, friends and family cherish the knowledge of who we are as it is and not was nor what it may be. They/we say let us all sit here and laugh together, hug and share cocoa over the “google spittle” of our lives and forgive us, rather laugh with us, over the small “doh”s that have scraped us.
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. George Bernard Shaw