True story. A good story? I hope so. It works for me so I thought I’d share:
A few years ago. Out with a few guys for dinner/drinks. It is work related, but social. I’m low man on the totem pole. We end-up at main guy’s house for a last soda…or many. Sitting outside. Fire going. Mondo stars.
One of the guys looks at the rest of us and asks, “If you could only tell your children one thing, what would it be?” Conceivably, not a light-weight question…
…If you could only tell your children one thing, what would it be?”
Being the restrained guy that I am, I instantly blurted out, I would tell them, “Just be who you are!” The words were leaving my lips and I was listening to them. Just came out of me. Like a spontaneous combustion response.
Had time to think about it and, I stand by it.
There are lots of things to say to our children. All kinds of advice to give. The passing on of life lessons is important. Active parenting is critical. However, for me what’s paramount is not deciding my kids’ way, but being there to help guide them on the pathway of their own choice.
I trust that as a parent (and myself, as an individual) I have lived-up to that.
I’ve seen too many people transformed into something they are not. So many that are what others want them to be. So many that are not fulfilled in their employment. So many that are not what they really wish for themselves.
Just Be Who You Are
Who else can you really be anyways?
Yes, but I don’t think it is very likely to happen and I doubt that it would be a good thing.
Actually, if history is any guide, “getting along” is not the American Way.
From our earliest beginnings as colonists, we were at each others throats…if not on religious grounds, then certainly on the Loyalist vs. Yankee issue. The newly independent United States of America faced the battle between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists which wasn’t really resolved until we had our supreme disagreement, the Civil War.
It continues to this day. The polarization of the present day political parties is one thing, but the media seems to be going out of its way to pit Americans against Americans.
Americans, as individuals, are certainly a unique blend of people and we do, overall, enjoy a very high standard of living, but let’s be real, America is not a nice place – it is survival of the fittest. It is the struggle of competitive values, ideas and interests. And that may be what essentially makes America a great place to live.
I do, however, think that we need to make more of an effort to listen to and respect our fellow citizen’s points of view. I am looking for more constructive dialogue as opposed to the destructive positioning that I see all around me now.
While I am passionately opposed to the socialistic principles that President Obama and the majority of Americans seem to be supporting, I am always in favor of making things better, even if I disagree with the method. I may be a little too smug in my belief that Americans will see the light and return to the principles that made this country what it has been. I do not see how Americans can, in the end, surrender their individuality. Sure hope I’m right on that one.
The greater good doesn’t tend to happen because of altruistic individuals collectively agreeing on the right course. And once again, let’s be real, good does not always triumph. Yet, somehow, we do tend to eventually come to a better conclusion.
As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Americans always do the right thing…after they have tried everything else.”