Abductive Columns

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

If I could do it All Again

If I could start over and do it all again I would:

1) Love my wife more the second time around.

I never really learned to hug until I was in my fifties. When the kids were growing up and on those occasions when tears streamed down their little cheeks over a child thing I didn’t always reach over and hug them. I wish I had more. But I think it would have been easier for me to hug somebody else if I had seen my father do it a few times.

2) I’d try to have more fun with my kids.

The people who have made keen observations about human life realize that children need to be able to laugh with their parents. Every family should have those happenings, those memories, those words that bring laughter back.

3) I would try to listen more carefully to my children and my wife the second time around.

I seemed to practice what I call “half-an-ear” listening where you tell the child to go ahead and talk, I can hear you, but the child knows you are reading something while you are listening. If I had it to do over I would stop everything and get down on my knees and look them directly in the eyes as they talked and I listen intently with my heart. That’s what I would do.

4) I would try to be more honest

I too made bad grades.
I used language that I wouldn’t use today
And I was afraid of some of the same things they are. Yada, Yada, Yada. Maybe that kind of honesty would have allayed many of their fears.

5. I would try less the next time through to change my family.

At times I think I would have liked “cloned” kids. Little copies of me and mom. They should like the same music. They should like the same clothes. They should wear their hair like me (I have none. Look up and to the right at my picture). We all have stressors around these points but do you know what? Most are less important than we make them.

6. If I could start again, I would try to find ways to bring us into closer togetherness.

It’s been reported somewhere (I don’t remember where) that boys spend less than eight minutes a week alone with their fathers. That stat may need updated but the point is well taken. If I could do it again I would make the time for more personal interaction with my children. That is the way our relationship with God and with my family ought to be. A sense of belonging. A full togetherness.

7. If I were starting over I would encourage my family more.

Can you remember the first words of encouragement from your father? If you’re father gave you any encouragement as you were growing up you probably remember those special words. “I’m proud of you” or “I trust you.” Words that provided a sense of security as you moved out into the world.

8. If I had a second chance I would encourage a closer relationship between my children and God.

This can be difficult. If you try to do it overtly, you can accomplish the opposite of what you want. Some things are best approached by indirection. I sometimes wonder why God gave us the greatest amount of zeal while immature and less than adequate energy tanks for zealous pursuit when we age into maturity and wisdom? But if I had the maturity of a fifty year old when I was twenty-years old I would be acutely aware the second time around that I stand in the place of God to the child I love. It’s through me, the parent, that the child relates to God.


At 8:57 AM, Blogger Charlie said...

Thanks, Fred, for putting your heart out there - and in the process, helping me to see my own. I'm thinking along the same lines these days. If only we could start over, with the experience and knowledge we have now, what a difference we'd all like to make!


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