To My Kids, On the World

I resolved to write down a few things to leave for my kids, some things I wished I'd heard from my parents.  This is the first of those.

My Darling Joey, Maria, and Grace,

I love each of you.  As each one of you came into my life, you taught me more and more about love, and about myself.  Joey, you taught me how to care so much it hurt, how to feel.  Maria, you taught me how something was more valuable than momentary happiness.  Grace, you taught me the simple joy of fatherhood, how each child is a gift from God, and how a laugh from your beloved child is greater than any physical gift in the world. 

My children, this isn't about my love for you, for that will not (and cannot) end.  If I am cast into the darkest, hopeless pit of hell, I will still love you until the last conscious bit of my soul burns away.  This is about "The World."  What I am to say is hard, but you need to hear it someday.

The world doesn't revolve around you.  Mom and I say this often, sometimes in anger, sometimes in exasperation--but always in love.  It's the truth.

You will have seasons in your life where things go well.   You will feel that you can do no wrong, that everything is going your way.  Life will feel easy, like the ground rises to meet your feet, that every challenge melts away before you, that the boulders that staunch your path move of their own volition.  You might conclude that "The World" likes you.   This is not the case.

At other times, you will have seasons where it all collapses:  You can't do anything right.  You will fail despite your best efforts.  Relationships will collapse, and friends/loved ones will leave you or grow sick and die.  Each day--each hour--will be a struggle to go on.  You might conclude that "The World" is out to get you.  This is not the case, either.

The hard truth is, "The World" is indifferent to you.  You are a person like billions of your fellow human beings, and no one in the world owes you any favors, nor do they (in general) bid you ill.  Attributing (or blaming) "the world" for your success or failure is an empty cop-out, one your Daddy wrestled with for many years.  I would spare you that.

I firmly believe in personal Agency--that an individual by his own actions can affect the outcome of his life.  With that, the implication is, you have to choose your own path and go after it.  Your life will be the result of your choices.  You must work and find your way to contribute to life using the talents given you and the skills you can acquire. 

Mom and I will do everything in our power to help, but we'll not do things for you such that you feel like you're entitled to life being easy.  Thus you can become an adult, able to love yourself, and others, and God with your whole mind, soul, and spirit.

God bless and keep you.

Dad


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