Two of THE MOST painful periods of my life were when my Kids, in their own time, each lost some of their innocence because they had finally seen the reality of the world.
It’s inevitable, of course, but still – it hurts. I so loved and enjoyed seeing the world with boundless wonder through their eyes, unclouded by the darkness of life. It still saddens me to this day when I compare the before and after.
While raising them, I did my best to fill their minds & hearts with wonder and excitement and fascination, constantly telling them that anything is possible as long as they believe and work hard. I didn’t lie to them; I still believe in those tenets of life. But they know now that the Real World is far more complicated than that.
There came a day in each of their lives when they realized: their parents weren’t perfect, not all people are nice, there are those who don’t play by the same rules that you do, people can be vicious and cruel, the word “fair” means different things to different people, and there are some injustices in this World that are ALMOST impossible to make right.
But I also try very hard, each and every day, to show them that there is still a great deal of joy to be found in this world.
To that end, by choice, I am often a 55 year old Kid. I play. I laugh hard (sometimes snorting when I laugh). I tell stupid jokes. I enjoy simple pleasures. Old movies and music and art and stories still mean a LOT to me. And I do my best to maintain the mindset that anything – yes, anything! – is possible if I believe and work hard.
And it is now the other lessons I taught them early on in life that, I hope, have kicked-in and gained more importance since they saw the world as it really is. Lessons like:
— You make your own reality; for example: if you think your day is going to be bad, it will be.
— You are responsible for your own actions at all times, not for the actions of others.
— You can instill and propagate integrity and honesty by displaying it to others daily.
— Surround yourself with positive influences (people, books, music, art, and so on).
— Life is still a playground, but it has rules. Learn the rules and you can still enjoy the game of life. I didn’t say “follow” their rules; I said “learn” them – and then decide for yourself when it’s right to deviate from them.
— Please…marry someone who infuses positivism into your lives, and bring that to their lives too.
Most important, please grow to be elderly children-at-heart. If you can successfully do that, then I did my job as a dad.