A question that I have pondered on for some time in the past few years. I have despaired at times as I have sought to fill an emptiness in my heart. There are some people who are happy to be single (or they say so). If that is truly right for them then I envy them. For me it is not so. It seems in many ways my world has shrunk over the last three years. Certainly upon separation one finds out who their friends are. There has been one constant of course in my life and that is my family.
We have just celebrated Fathers Day here in New Zealand, and I can unreservedly say that this one was the best day I have had in my 27 years of Fatherhood. It was not marked by the gifts I received although these were very well thought out and appreciated, but it was outstanding for the acts of service and for the very special tribute that I had paid to me by my daughter. The key things about this were the following quotes “I want to celebrate your generous heart, from which you pour both your pocket and lifeblood into every person who needs you.”. Now this is not how I would describe myself, however truth told I have not really thought about it at all. It was an interesting experience to have someone who knows me well write about me. She went on to say “ I see so much in myself in you, I worry too much, I’m clumsy, I secretly give my money away and then end up broke at the end of the fortnight, I tell really bad jokes, I love making music, I love singing as loudly and wildly as I can and I love public speaking, writing and reading.” Now those are things I knew about me all though I am not sure about the bad jokes thing. I thought my comedic skills were pretty advanced, perhaps it is an interpretation, does not bad mean good? Like hey dude, that is a bad car!
I certainly know those things about her, although clumsy I don’t think she is. Not only does she love to sing, she really sings well. These were lovely things to hear and when she said that she had learnt that “though you taught me to make my own decisions I also learnt that I could always trust your judgement.” That was really sobering. I know that I agonise over decisions that I make and allowing my children to make their own decisions. This is not a something that I undertook lightly but in the end it has been rewarded. My children often complained or entreat me to tell them what to do. They get annoyed when I say “you know what the right thing to do is” And mostly I make them do those things like make that awkward phone call saying they can’t come. I have no regrets about any of that in the slightest. I have been rewarded by children who make sound decisions based on reasoning and a set of moral imperatives that whilst I have contributed to they have developed for them selves. Such self development means that when the come across something new they have a way to deal with it. Not an instant solution but a way to engage and think about it.
Now before I wallow off into obscurity and lose the plot I want to redirect to my original headline. Who will miss me when I am gone. When I look at my children and see what they are doing and read the kind of things like the excerpts above that my daughter wrote then I realise that when I do depart from this world, I will have left a legacy, five children who have developed a way of going through life that is considered, thoughtful and moral. Not in terms of any biblical notions of morality, I am not so focussed on what decisions they make as to the process that they use to make them. Whilst I have a set of values that I hope my children will espouse and live out, they in the end will make their own choices, and sometimes I am very grateful for that as I am painfully aware of my own faults and follies.
Like always I guess I find it difficult not to be didactic, in fact I write because I have a point of view to share and I hope that in doing so perhaps some of the values I hold might rub off, but in the end I will be satisfied if people after reading what I have to say take time to be reflective and considered.
In the meantime, laugh, live and love whilst you have breath!