Everyone has these two visions when they hold their child for the first time. The first is your child as an adult saying “I want to thank the Nobel Committee for this award.” The other is “You want fries with that?”
18 years. You have just 18 years to affect and guide the life of that tiny human being you’ve been entrusted to raise. So sad that so many don’t spend much time or effort on this most sacred of trusts.
I’ve met young men before who take a savage pride in living the wild life, a narcissist who tears around the world, seeding babies at every turn. Some don’t even know of some of these offspring, where or when they might have been born.
There are few things that set a life off in the wrong direction like being forgotten in the first place. Some fathers feel just guilty enough to send money, but never give the most precious commodity of all, time.
Have you had contact with your child today? How about going all the way and telling your son or daughter how much you love them? I know about the time they reach middle school or so, the last thing your offspring can tolerate is public displays of affection from parents.
At this stage, SHOWING them you love them is much more effective. Respect their peer pressured environment and hang back until it is safe to show how much you care. Not embarrassing them in front of their friends is really appreciated more than you know. That shows your consideration for their feelings and yes, it does show love.
Don’t give them everything, but give them the tools they need to be self sufficient and they will grow up fulfilled and will be grateful for the opportunities you provide for their eventual independence. We only have those 18 years to prepare them to fly. They are going to jump out of the nest whether you prepare them or not. It’s not very funny to watch them crash and burn, all the while knowing it was your fault.
Again, it comes down mostly to time. I’ve never heard anyone say, I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with my kids, and more time working. Sure, I could have had more money to give and obtain things for my daughter, but what she values as she is finishing up college (which she paid for herself with no loans) is time with me and her mother.
She still has the same stable home to come back to and has a firm foundation to make that dramatic leap into the world, which is quite a hostile place. The reason soldiers are put through boot camp at first is to train them to meet the adversity they will meet in battle. We can also go too far in the other direction and give too much money, things and then pad the way for them so effectively they don’t learn to cope with problems. They don’t learn the skills necessary to deal with real adversity when it arrives and they are on their own.
It is a fine line to train them to be independent and still maintain a loving relationship with you. If you do this correctly, conflict will result during the teen years as they begin to test their wings and push against you, who are acting as their conscience. As soon as they are on their own, however, you will wonder when the aliens took your kid and left this model citizen in their place. All they will have to make decisions with is what you taught them. You were there. The whole time. And you raised them right.
“Things can happen to you, but they don’t have to happen to your soul.”
Dictionary.com defines Adversity as: Adverse fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress.
I guess I should start with the obvious. Everyone has bad things happen to them. The rich, poor, and everyone in between encounter areas of their lives that are beyond their control, and sometimes it can be really bad.
Mary Tyler Moore said, “You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
There are two components to your average everyday calamity. The actual thing that happens to you, and then what you decide to do with it. Coping and solving problems is always best, but sometimes you just have to let it roll over you and start with the debris you have left.
Health problems are like this. A billionaire who gets a cancer diagnosis is no less scared than a poor or middle class person. While the billionaire can get better palliative care, if he or she is dying, they face the great equalizer on this earth.
How we decide to deal internally with distress is ultimately more important than the actual event itself. We all go through various stages of grief when we are faced with death, but there are some things we can do to make things easier for those we leave behind.
When you die, do you want your spouse and children to spiral down into the pits of despair, and ruin the rest of their lives over it? We all hope to be mourned and missed, but what you decide to say to them now, can make all the difference. Encourage them to love and support each other and always remember how proud you are of them and what they will accomplish.
Jennifer Lawrence mentioned that external conditions need not affect your soul as deeply. Put up a shield between your soul and adversity and don’t let it be destroyed by what happens to the outside.
In the last episode of Daggers of the Mind, William Shatner was one of the celebrities quoted. An story is told that distressful circumstances occurred when after his fame and fortune on the original Star Trek series, he divorced and lost everything. He was reduced to living in a camper for a while. Being nearly homeless can be quite the morale buster as you can imagine. He could have accepted permanent homelessness, but decided that wasn’t the way he wanted to live.
As we well know, Mr. Shatner didn’t quit and is quite the success. It obviously affected his circumstances, but it didn’t sink so deep as to ruin his desire to live and achieve.
Good, bad and ugly happens to all of us. Let’s keep circumstances external, and protect that soul. It’s beautiful, and it’s the only one you’ve got.
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