I am truly blessed!
For I have an unbelievably fabulous relationship with my children! The opportunity to connect on such a deep and compassionate level as we grow together is a true honor and my deepest inspiration.
When we as adults stop wrestling and stressing with life for a moment and take the time to listen to the wisdom of our children and truly hear their pure, open view of life and the world, we learn something that can not be achieved in any other way.
For they are meeting life head on, without hesitation as they are submitted to challenges and issues that many of my generation ever dreamed of or were confronted with as kids and young adults. This is only one of the many reasons why I appreciate absolutely everything about being a father and offer my deepest heart-felt assistance to them, in any way I can, every single day.
They are smart, strong and they have survived the divorce of their parents at a very young age. They are resilient, funny and they understand more about people, friendship and relationships than we may sometimes give them credit for. Children typically look for and appreciate the very best in people, judging rarely, only when honesty and trust have been damaged or broken. They are truly amazing.
My children are my greatest gifts and when you consider I wasn’t blessed with fatherhood until I was 39 and again at 40 years of age, my respect and admiration levels are beyond measure.
As for parenting being our most important job in life, I was unprepared, yet I was ready to learn by being involved and I tried to make every valuable lesson I learned as child apparent to them and very clear. I am so very fortunate to have been blessed with a family who loves me despite my failures and even today, they rarely roll their eyes when they watch their father stumbling along in his new life, with his friends, even his attempts at relationships, and his life choices at such an “old age”.
If I could impart one important piece of advice to everyone who have children or want children, it would be to talk less and listen more. Give them a chance to communicate their thoughts, feelings, desires, concerns and most importantly where they are going and why. Once they reach a certain age, they are going to do exactly what they want to anyway, regardless of the good or bad example you have set.
So never, ever forget to tell them that you love them, and never, ever say hello or goodbye without giving them a genuine, warm bear hug expressing your deep affection and admiration. Our children must always be our first priority and for those of us who have lost touch or have become disconnected, it is your duty to do whatever it takes to resolve any differences, come clean, and work towards a sharing of what family is all about. It will save your life, your health and your sanity.
I am reminded of an interesting story –
I assisted a neighbor of my father’s collect the clothing of her recently deceased husband (her third) and donate it to Goodwill. Before I left, she served tea and we talked; I noticed pictures of children and grand children on a table set aside for just that reason, and wondered where they all lived and if the had attended the funeral ceremonies.
She burst into tears and stuttered through her sobbing that they all lived fairly close by, but that she had not seem them in nearly 12 years. Apparently there was an argument, actually a misunderstanding of the true facts which had broken up the family dynamic when it was assumed that something unmentionable happened while her second husband (their father) lay sick and dying nearly 15 years ago.
She was inconsolable as she explained the situation and stated that she thought it was far too late to make amends now. I thought this was unacceptable and recommended that she, with my assistance write some new letters, or make some calls and attempt to explain in detail what had actually happened. She was alone now and needed the support of those near and dear to her heart.
A few weeks past and all of a sudden, there were four cars parked out front of her home and some nine adults and what sounded like nearly twenty kids were inside. What had transpired made the entire neighborhood delight and cheer. It was truly magical.
So don’t let a miscommunication, an assumed broken promise or any other silly reason prevent you from being close to your family. You absolutely must maintain a one on one understanding and compassionate connection with your children. Life is too short to have something separate you no matter the reason or the circumstances.
Today, I have much to be thankful and happy for I have an honest and open communication with my children and as I have stated above, they are my life, they are the root of my happiness and they are my reason to smile.
So, if you don’t have children, go hug somebody else’s!