Thursday, March 16, 2006

For a better blade

It's not easy getting respect. I know this because I've raised children. There are a lot of ways for kids to get into trouble, really bad trouble, and a parent imagines each and every one of those ways every day, hence my gray hair. ( I like to think of it as silver, though, cuz that seems so much classier)

Anyway, a parent's toughest job is preparing their children for the days when they make decisions that could scar or break them should they decide unwisely. That's a key word, 'unwisely'.

You see, wisdom is the domain of the elder, not the child. Children' experience is, perforce, limited, thus they make their decisions either by whimsy or based upon received knowledge. If, as a parent, we limit their received knowledge by avoiding tough subjects (drugs, sex, etc), we are setting them up for a likely failure because, without our sage preparation, their only teacher will be 'experience'.

If the sole arbiters for their actions are their, likewise, knowledge/experience-limited peers, then, we should not be too surprised when they dabble where angels (ie, grownups) fear to tread. It's said that you can lead a horse to water, but, you can't make him drink. On the other hand, if you never show him the path to water you should not be surprised if he follows his own nose and wanders off the safe path.

For instance, you wouldn't give your child a '1st place' ribbon for a race he'd never even run. You'd be conflating the mere possession of the goal with its achievement. So, you teach that any goal, love, money, success, whatever, that comes without a race is valueless. You teach that failure is just an obstacle in the race, not the end of the race.

Take Donald Trump. If you thought he's driven by the possession of wealth, you'd be wrong. Money is just the measure of of his success, not it's goal. For 'The Donald' it's the race that matters. The ribbons, i.e., money, are just acknowledgement of his skill in the race. If making the finest swords were his goal, a finished blade would be just another ribbon in the race to make a finer blade.

In the end, one might offer that our children are our own effort to make a finer blade, a better version of ourselves, in our own race for posterity. So, do a good job, if for no other reason, do it for yourself because your children are the mirror of your soul.

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