A question of answers
Let’s take a moment to take stock of our lives shall we?! We have taken a ride, albeit a short ride together in this fatherhood blog and it’s been both an interesting ride and an eye opening one. We have discussed all manner of situations that could arise from being first time parents to seeing your kids off to college. We’ve talked about role-playing, community engagement, and even given ourselves permission to be kids again. So, where do we go now? It would be great to be able to say that the role between mother and father has now blended into just being a parent on one hand, we have also stated that these philosophies and techniques couldn’t be further from each other in some instances. These are heavy times, we have seen multiple school shootings, the #MeToo Movement, we have plumbed the depths of political uncertainty and have also found ourselves in the midst of an apalling an all encompassing opioid epidemic… this begs the question, what type of future will our children have? Where can we go for answers, and how are we sure that the answers that we get our rooted in competent people of integrity? I have often been told in my life to follow my gut, times like these make us rely on our gut more than we can rely on the visceral experience that is a nightly news segment. What’s beyond that? What happens when we are afflicted by a substance abuse disorder, or a mental illness, or some other circumstance that leaves us unable to have sound reasoning or even clear judgment? What if because of this current climate we’ve resorted into old behaviors and now we are stuck in an uncertain world with an uncertain future and we’ve got children? The answers become more convoluted and as numerous as the moments leading up to the time when the question was first framed in our minds. Now we are faced with an evolving set of circumstances that are very foreign to us. Our first instincts tend to go towards protecting our children, But in this situation our sense of what protection is might be altered. If you’ve ever flown on a plane you’ll have received the lecture that when the oxygen mask drop from the ceiling you must first place one on your own face before attempting to place one on the face of the person adjacent to you. This rule applies to every facet of our lives. This rule applies to every facet of our lives… Without us, being in control of our own faculties in our own mind, we are just simply unable to care for and protect anything around us as there is a fundamental flaw in our own being that makes us incapable of truly and completely caring for anyone else if we have not first addressed the proverbial oxygen mask on own face. A lot of us have lived through some pretty shattering ordeals, some of which we don’t feel we will ever recover from fully, and some of which we know will always be in the background shaping some facet of everything we do. Maybe we are in recovery, maybe we are mourning the loss of a loved one, maybe the loss of a loved one came in a swift and tragic way we did not expect, or maybe we are just on the sidelines of someone suffering and we don’t know how to help them. Be that as it may, there is no simple switch we can flip to make a person come to that realization anymore than we can snap our fingers and make it all go away. We are human beings that need love, heat, food, and shelter… Any one of those components removed makes us unwhole. Where our children fit into this is that while most of us are broken on some level, that is exactly where we can drive the most strength in imparting to our children how to thrive when things are dire or hopeless. If we strive to be the perfect parents we are wasting our time, if we are striving to have the perfect obedient children again we are wasting our time. If you have stumbled upon this page I can say with a relative degree of certainty that you are doing pretty fine as a parent to have been searching on the Internet to find a way to make your child’s station better than perhaps your own was. A lot of times we do not give ourselves the credit that we rightfully deserve for either taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of our children, reaching out to service providers before things get dire so that we are in a better position to take care of our children regardless of how embarrassing it might be, or making difficult decisions to put our lives back in order by surrendering to what ever that process looks like with our whole being. We can never prepare ourselves for all of the various trials and tribulations that can come up, all we can do is be open minded enough and humble enough to reach out when something happens that we don’t understand to have it addressed. Sometimes something as simple as sitting down in a very quiet room and just breathing for 10 minutes can be the most cathartic thing for ourselves that we will ever know. Being OK with the uncertainty, being OK with the fact that we don’t know everything, being OK with the fact that sometimes things just aren’t OK… we bounce back, we are resilient and in fact our children are even more resilient then we are as adults. This is by no means a get out of responsibility free card, it just goes to show that in spite of everything we endure… That in spite of hardships we press on. We aren’t always going to ride off into the sunset having saved the day or celebrating how all the good people have won… Sometimes we are going to have bitter failures and sometimes we’re going to have miserable times. Our children might not go off to be the things that we wished they would be, But if we’ve played our cards right they will take all of the love and trust with doted on them and they will thrive because of where they came from and what we gave them while they were there. This is a good time to take a deep breath and tell yourself OK I’ve gotten this far, I can definitely get the rest of the way. Set a few goals, short-term goals, relatively easy to attain to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. Something as simple as making sure your child says I love you, or that you make it a point to read something to them before they sleep… Maybe it’s something you’ve written especially for them. Goals are simply dreams with deadlines… So just for today let your goal be in setting one, just for today let your goal be taking a deep breath and taking stock and just how far you’ve come and how you did on the way warts and all.
Thanks for being you, a human who makes some pretty bad decisions, and equally pretty awesome ones too! But most importantly- thank you for not giving up on not only you, but on the future you and the example your kids follow as they become their future them.