This I Believe

Saul - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on February 23, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: carpe diem
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There is an old Chinese maxim: “May you live in interesting times.” Our present day “interesting times” are also stressful times! American society with all of its complicating factors makes it difficult for us to separate life’s demands from pleasures, work from family and the needs of self from those of others. Frequently, we view the world around us with distrust or suspicion making it difficult to sustain personal or work relationships. In fact, the fast pace of life can depersonalize our daily existence.

The nuclear family has also undergone significant changes, though the values of family are still sound and need expression in both word and deed. The “multiple household family” is increasingly the case. Our children surely need positive role models, and Dad, this is exactly what you want to be for them and what they must have from you.

Rapidly advancing technology has helped create an environment of individual isolation. The computer age with its vast virtual communication resources of the Internet and e-mail can limit people-to-people and people-to-environment interaction. Time constraints and the demands to meet financial obligations leave little time for personal and meaningful interactions, especially those with our children. “There’s just no time to be together” echoes through the corridors of our existence.

There are viable alternatives. The no-time-together cycle can be broken. The goal is to create an environment for the family that for periods of time, “special time”, separates you and the kids from the stresses and intrusions of daily existence. This is not an easy task. You must first place value on these periods of time, and then work to consistently make them happen. The world we live in today and the world in which our children will grow up in today and tomorrow, make for “interesting times” that afford us interesting experiences. Adventures, trips, vacations and journeys of all types and lengths are excellent vehicles to make this goal of special time a reality.

Children will respond when you reach out to them. The earlier you start, the younger they are, the easier it is to accomplish. Evaluate your priorities. You will discover that through getting to know yourself, the kids will get to know you better. Slowing down the pace, even if only at times, allows you to put stresses aside and have shared adventures with your kids. Through fun, exciting, and at times frustrating “journeys”, you will experience your children and they you, in new ways.

These special times create a life-long foundation for relationships that grow, change, mature and endure. The by-products of these relationships strengthen the resolve to communicate and more importantly to listen.

Journeys do not require traveling great distances or to exotic destinations, and may take many forms. You will find adventures of all kinds exist at home, in your neighborhood or within just miles of your front door. All journeys are important and meaningful requiring only a touch of imagination and the willingness of dad to spend some time with his children.

Time passes much too quickly. Childhood and parenthood are but fleeting moments in the total scheme of existence. Before we know it the opportunities for journeys with our children have passed and they have moved on with their independence. The life-long sustenance forged by these experiences and their vivid memories can be forever lost in the wake of “other priorities” and indecision.

Be mindful of the bounties of today that exist in the time we spend involved with our children. Be mindful of the experiences of today that will create our own future “interesting times.