I’m pretty sure we have the same basic struggles and weaknesses as most families out there; despite the religous affiliation.
It’s just as easy for me to crop out the rough spots for social media, as the next parent on Facebook could- and instead, post a geniunely positive photo for everyone to see, as if the cloudy and stormy days never happened.
A strong marriage and family provides a more stable support unit for the good, the bad, and the ugly that makes up what life is all about. To me, that is real love and real life.
I also mentioned in my letter the importance of being the kind of love we want to receive. I told how love isn’t easy; it’s hard work, a true investment- not simply a given.
While others could surely and easily disagree with my wording, that’s how I see it.
And now, as I write this today, there’s a related blog post that is going viral. It’s so viral, it’s currently impossible to look at my Facebook news feed without seeing at least a half a dozen people of sharing it in any given hour.
The author, Seth Adam Smith, is not a famous writer; at least, if he wasn’t a famous writer before, he’s probably becoming one now. He managed to publish a simple, yet revolutionary idea that is totally resonating with people I know.
In the post, he quotes his father’s words of wisdom:
“Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children… Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
So perfectly said.
I think that like most people, I went into the article thinking it was going to explain that certain people just aren’t good at, or ready for, being married.
Instead, he totally surprised me with a fresh concept: Marriage isn’t for me.
This Seth Adam Smith guy is on to something. I’m going to be mindful of his (and his father’s) words for everyday of the rest of my life.
That’s definitely the case at my job in the office. I don’t assume I’ll get a raise simply because I’ve been employed there for a certain amount of time.
I see it more of an old school concept that you get a raise based on time. Instead, I work with the mindset that I need to daily show my employer that I’m one of the most proactive, diligent, and creative workers there.
Basically, as I prove myself more each day, I’m rewarded with new tasks and responsibilities- in other words, more hard work.
The concept is that I will eventually hold so many responsibilities and successly completed projects that a new pay grade will eventually be unavoidable.
Until then, I’m working hard and being rewarded with more hard work.
I wish I could tell you that life was easier than that. I don’t think it is.
The thought of ever retiring seems not only impossible for me, but it simply seems like a joke; not just because I have no faith in the Social Security program. It’s also that I can’t imagine not feeling the pressure of accomplishing tasks all the time.
I’m afraid I’m one of those people who would die within a year after retiring. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Therefore, I plan to stay moving and active.
As I write all this, I can’t help but think about how this mindset makes me think of being a parent. With each new phase I complete, like the get-no-sleep phase when you were a newborn, I graduate to a newer and more advanced job.
Nearly three years ago I was cleaning bottles, whereas these days I’m helping you potty train.
If the reward for a job well done is more hard work, then that means hard work is rewarding. Weird concept, but I get it. Actually, one of my favorite books in the world is Ecclesiastes, which is widely believed to be written by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon.
This sums it up for me in a way I can appreciate:
“5:18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”
If that’s how I see the world, and how I see life, it would seem difficult to feel entitled to much.
Needless to say, I am your daddy. That means the reward for being your daddy is, being your daddy.
I’ve learned in life that it’s dangerous to assume I’m right, about anything, because it seems that the people who are often wrong are typically convinced they are always right.
Over the past couple years especially, since you’ve been around, I’ve mellowed out, in a good way.
It’s true that becoming a parent makes you a better, stronger, less selfish, more mature person.
Ultimately, it comes down to reminding myself to put you and Mommy before myself, as I’ve mentioned before.
That requires me to be constantly open-minded and always assuming that my own ego could be slowing down the family train. (Or carousel, as the picture implies.)
I believe those requirements will help make me the old man I’m planning to become.
Yes, I know, I’m only 32.
But I want to be very deliberate about the future old man version of me.
After all, I do plan to live a long life, keeping up with you and Mommy.
When I’m old, no matter how old I get, until I eventually (and hopefully) just die in my sleep at the end of a good long life, I want to be a man who others still find refreshing, entertaining, giving, optimistic, and yes, open-minded.
In other words, I don’t want to be stuck in my ways, muttering about the good ole days and complaining about how the younger generations are messing everything up.
I don’t want to wind up a cliche. And the stereotype of a crotchety old man is one that a lot of people are familiar with.
That’s why, now, in the past (assuming you are reading this many years from now) I want to be living with the right mindset; one that will carry on into the next 50 years or so.
This infographic does a great job on summing it up. I can see who I used to be (having the scarcity mindset) compared to who I am becoming (adopting the abundance consciousness).
As I read through the attributes of both, it makes me think about a Jason Mraz song called ”Live High.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“I try to picture the man to always have an open hand
See him as a giving tree, see him as matter
Matter of fact he’s not a beast
No, not the devil either, always a good deed doer
Well, it’s laughter that we’re makin’ after all
The call of the wild is still in order nationwide
In the order of the primates all our politics are too late
Oh my, the congregation in my mind
Is an assembly selling gratitude and practicing their lovin’ for you”
Son, I’m sorry if this all seems a bit random today. If nothing else, know that being your dad means there’s a lot of psychological stuff I’m forced to reckon with. I am now far from the 2010 version of myself, from before you were born.
I can’t be your dad and not be changed by the process. For better or worse. I choose better.