On Dreams, Life, and Doing the Right Thing

There is a time when all parents*, those of us who strive to do the right thing anyway, have to look at our kids and say “I’m not going to be here forever. I know you don’t get it, but what I am trying to teach you today will help you later.”

There are a lot of things that I want to tell my children, but fail at finding the words. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid it will go ever there heads, maybe it’s because I don’t think they’ll listen, or maybe it’s because I haven’t come to terms with it myself. In any case, there are times when my kids look at me as if I just broke their whole world, and all I can say to that is “No. I just told you to turn off TV.”

This gets into the much larger issue. Something I want to say to my kids on a regular basis.

Life is not fair:  It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. It hurts, but it’s also healing. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just life. You will be happy, you will be sad, you’ll also be mad, but you will be okay. It’s ultimately up to you how on how you wish to shape it. No one will do it for you, and those that will try will shape it in their vision not years. Make life yours, but understand you will need to bend on more than one occasion, and you may have to bend farther than you thought you could. That is okay.

You’ll be on your own: One day, we won’t be here for you. This breaks our heart more than it will break your heart it seems, but one day you will have to rely solely on your self. This is good. It is freeing, and it is wonderful. All I can do is give you the tools to go down the right road. If I’ve done my job, you will have made that road grander than I ever could have imagined.

Nothing comes easy: I know computers and devices make it appear like everything is at your fingertips, but this a plain lie. Nothing of any worth will ever come easy, or over night, or without a lot of stress. The best things in life will take years, and you may not even see the fruits of your labor in your lifetime. This goes from the mundane to the extravagant.

Follow your dreams, but plan on bumps: From the time we can crawl we are told to follow our dreams. It seems so easy, but many of us will get disenchanted when we realize that we actually have to work to achieve those dreams. You may even have to sacrifice those dreams as part of the bigger picture. I cannot tell you which road to take, but know that you may have to veer off the road a lot.

Turn off: As much as the shininess of the digital world looks beautiful, remember. It is only an illusion. Social media, digital entertainment, whatever you want to call it is only an illusion of communication. It will never replace face to face communication, or our need to hold each other. It may create greater connections, but it won’t replace the warmth of seeing a real smile.

There is only one true path to success: Be kind. That is it. You may not have wealth, or fame, or power, but if you are kind you will not need those things. You will see the world as it truly is, and you will see how we are all connected in it. Don’t get me wrong. Money will buy you a lot, but kindness will always bring peace and serenity. The one thing that money can, and never will provide.

* I don’t want to imply that all parents do the right thing. To be honest, many (hopefully the minority of parents) are monsters. They are greedy, selfish, and evil people. I hate putting us all into the same category, but sometimes it’s hard to find the correct word to separate out the good parents from the evil ones.

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