in spite of all the lessons I am called to dish out to my children at a moments notice, as any parent worth their pinch of salt will agree, there comes that rare moment where all the education, experience, adult wisdom and understanding must take a moment and bow to the inexplicable honesty and brutal truth that comes from the mouthes of our children.
In my case, as much as life has been my biggest and most brutal teacher, those extra special lessons the ones that take your breath away because of their simplicity, have come through the teachings of two beautiful warriors, neither of whom at present, stands taller than my belt buckle.
Who would have thought some of life’s most important lessons could come from 2 little boys whose cumulative ages stands at a little over 7 years. And you thought God didn’t have a sense of humour when he created parenting.
Numerous articles, websites, brochures and searches later, I have come to the conclusion that South Africa sits at the pinnacle of one of the worlds most ridiculous problems! ORPHANS!
Child: Say something,
Father: I’m giving up on you.
Child: I’ll be the one if you want me to? Anywhere, I would have followed you! Say something!
Father: I’m giving up on you!
Such a sad dialogue, full of raw emotion, a desperate desire for belonging and also a cry for help. Perhaps not the direction a Great Big World and Christina meant the interaction to follow, but to me, it sounds like the interaction between a father and son/daughter as they attempt to find value and worth in the eyes of that father, and as with many, fail to find it because that parent may not care or perhaps is just worn out and needs a break. Be careful though, while needing space is important and necessary, some things are taught and others are caught, not by what we hear, but rather by the way things are said.
Many Fathering advocates will come up with a bold list of moral and societal challenges, all of which fall squarely at the feet of dads who missed the mark, or worse, never even tried. A quick search will find the ills for which these dads are held accountable: Poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional illnesses, educational under achievement, crime, sexual activity and teen pregnancy fill only 6 categories.
“But that’s not me” you might say, “I am not that dad!” You may be correct. The question now becomes, what type of dad are you? Are you actively ensuring your kids don’t fall prey to statistics? What ripples does our subtle indifference cause in the lives of our children? We can forget how parents are looked to for support, that gentle smile a subtle glance in their direction. All these act as a natural steroid to our children’s abilities, coaxing them, encouraging them, believing in them.
As I sit at my new throne of creativity at a nearby coffee shop, I am greeted by a large sign at the entrance encouraging me to KEEP CALM AND DRINK WINE. As I reminisce of the days when friends were plenty, spare time was available in bucket loads, breakfasts turned to lunches and dinners were a time of great joy, good food and good wine, I catch myself in the reality of a new year. Yup, these times were only a week or two ago, but as we live in a world of uncapped internet, on tap stress and the destruction of boundaries between work and family time, It dawns on me that if I am not careful to fight for what is essential, the good will rear it’s “pretty” face and check mate the things that really matter.
A friend spoke of a study done recently that looked at the time it took to get back to the levels of stress experienced at the beginning of a holiday, once that holiday had finished. The study looked at a number of years and found that in the past, it took people approximately 8 months to arrive at those dizzy heights of stress compared to todays’ paltry 2 weeks, YES 2 WEEKS! No I don’t have the study on file, but I do have the word of a trusted psychologist and my own experience. Sadly, it doesn’t sound far-fetched does it?
As I sit and take a look at all the executively dressed coffee snobs sharing my new haunt, I wonder, where are they on the stress-o-metre and what will they sacrifice this year for the sake of the pay check?
Journey with me to last Sunday, as I lay on the operating table, quivering at the site of the surgeon’s scalpel, approaching what he believed to be my heart but what I knew to be somewhere south of my heart. He fumbled with his stethoscope, and not even paying attention the steady heart beat, declared that his patient was sick and in need of emergency treatment. As a butcher attacks a leg of lamb he attacked my chest!