Teaching Me How

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There are few things like watching a child grow up to remind one of how fast time marches by. My “boy” is in his early 30′s now and it seems like only a few years ago he was eight and playing street hockey in the driveway.

Although my son is still finding his compass, I am very proud of his free-thinking ways and determination to live his life his own way. He pays his own bills, is in a meaningful long-term relationship and is loved by family and friends. To stay in school and be nearly done with a PhD has taken determination I don’t have. Way to go Nick!

During a visit this past weekend my son and I talked about how dreams thought up behind us, look very different in the present. We agreed that it is far to easy to get down because things did not turn out the way we once hoped. Coming to believe that is okay was something we saw eye to eye on.

The simplistic idealism of being 21 is a marvel to see in one’s son. Even more impressive is when a child has grown fully into an adult with a much broader perspective. The only thing that concerns me sometimes is his (and his generation’s) cynicism about the future. Once in a while I wish he had a little more of the idealism of a decade ago.

For, after all, you do grow up, you do outgrow your ideals, which turn to dust and ashes, which are shattered into fragments; and if you have no other life, you just have to build one up out of these fragments. And all the time your soul is craving and longing for something else. And in vain does the dreamer rummage about in his old dreams, raking them over as though they were a heap of cinders, looking in these cinders for some spark, however tiny, to fan it into a flame so as to warm his chilled blood by it and revive in it all that he held so dear before, all that touched his heart, that made his blood course through his veins, that drew tears from his eyes, and that so splendidly deceived him! From “White Nights: And Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I am grateful that I grew up with my son to be a pretty decent Dad. I made plenty of mistakes, but did a good bit well also. I know today I am a better Father than ever before. I thank my son for teaching me how.

I believe that what we become
depends on what our fathers
teach us at odd moments,
when they aren’t trying to teach us.
We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.
Umberto Eco

About James Browning

A seeker working to grow each day and be a better version of my self. Through sharing I commit myself deeper to my ideals and beliefs.
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