This I Believe

Robert - Middletown, Connecticut
Entered on October 23, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: children

“I believe in my children: I believe in their resilience; I believe in their courage; I believe in their hope; and most of all, I believe in their love. I haven’t always been able to say that. My children have been through divorces, uneven parenting, dislocations and absences, and sometimes their responses, understandably, have been negative, tentative and angry. Now, as they get older, I see in them something I couldn’t see as a young father: I see them struggle with issues I can no longer fix and I see them prevail. I see them dance uncertainly with adult love and do a more honest and credible job of it than I did at their age. I watch them fall, sometimes precipitously, into dark recesses of adult life—all I can do is watch—and then regain their footing and emerge from these experiences as better human beings.

My children are more honest about themselves than I was at their age. It’s not that they are immune to the self-delusions all of us are prone to at times. It’s that they are easier about letting them go than I was, and better about saying ‘no’ to pretensions and pretenses. My children have powerful friendships which they value above work and school and play, a kind of loyalty I didn’t always respect but which I have grown to appreciate. While my own life priorities have not always been right, my children seem to have intuited their father’s failings in this regard and corrected their courses appropriately. They have done this without recrimination or bitter resentment, just a clear sense of priority.

Most of all, I believe in my children’s love, for me, for each other and for those lucky souls who earn their respect and admiration. They are tough judges, but also very forgiving, which I have learned is the beginning stretch of love from one person to another. Forgive and the rest will follow, they seem to say, and luckily for me, they seem to have an almost infinite store of forgiveness. Unlike many of my colleagues, I have great faith for the future of my family and my country. I believe that my children will help heal and bind up the many wounds we have inflicted on each other, just as they have done with our family. I believe in my children implicitly and count myself fortunate to have been graced by their love.”