This I Believe

Kerry - Sunriver, Oregon
Entered on December 7, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children

I believe that children are at once our dream of the past and our hope for the future. We see in them our lost dreams of peace and innocence, and they see in us the power of freedom to be who we want to be.

When we decide to produce children, it is to satisfy our own needs, to replay our lives – to in some way have a chance to be a child again with the 20/20 vision that hindsight gives us. Yes, we love our children, but in a deep unspoken way, we need to have the power that a child’s love gives us.

When we look into the eyes of our babes, we see such tremendous hope for the tomorrow of the world we live in today. We see in their eyes, a supernatural power to grow into the gods we didn’t quite become – so that they might fix the problems we made. We somehow feel that our children will make the world a better place, that they will learn from the mistakes of our generation and will rectify them. We ask to replay our lives vicariously through them. And we do everything in our power to grow them into the future we envision without the frailties inherent in our own lives. We try our best to refuse them the errors of our ways, and to steer them into our dreams. We force upon them our beliefs in the hopes that they will take hold of those beliefs and make them more real than we were ever able.

We give our children our love, but we infuse it with our sorrow and when we teach them it is because our errors were so horrendous to us that we cannot conceive of allowing them the same mistakes. We know the paths upon which our feet have trod, and we wish different paths for our children’s feet. We place them on the smooth, safe paths in the hopes that the dangers of growing up will pass them by. So that they will surpass even the brightest and best of our generation.

When we allow our children to understand that we aren’t perfect, we are giving them the opportunity to learn not just from their mistakes, but also from ours. And that in turn gives them a freedom that is not ours, and sets them on different, more productive paths, and that is the greatest gift we can give; the knowledge that to err is human, and to accept and learn from the errors of our generation, and their own generation is to give our children the ability leap squarely into the realm of gods.

And so when we give birth to a child, we give this world our greatest gift to the past and to the future. This I believe.