If you’ve been following, I haven’t posted at all this week. Don’t worry – it’s not because I don’t love you anymore. And, it’s certainly not because I don’t love being a part-time stay-at-home daddy!
It’s because I’ve been uninspired to write.
With everything that’s been going on in the world, it’s just seemed trivial to write about baby classes and the fact that Jacob now regularly says “up” when he wants us to pick him up (yay!! and also, oops.) Incidentally, we’re now teaching him the word “no”. It’s not easy. It’s seemed trivial to write about Jacob’s fascination with DVD’s and how he loves watching Baby Einstein Numbers Nursery – he can say “nine” even though the video only goes up to 5. We’re pretty sure he’s a genius. Oh, all babies tend to mimic their parents? Never mind then. As much as we’re enjoying watching him learn and explore – it’s making our hearts explode on a daily basis – I’ve felt like it was selfish to share these happy moments when there is so much pain and suffering in the world.
Then it hit me.
It’s selfish NOT to share these moments. If the fact that my son farted on my arm, and then stuck his book on his bare butt while I was changing his (horribly stinky) diaper even brings a glimmer of a smile to your face, then we’ve done our job! (yes, he likes to have a book to pretend to read while we change him – who knows? Maybe he’s actually reading? And laughing at us when we’re not around…)
Then I started to think about the people that commit the atrocities that we hear about on the news (quick aside: if you want to be happier in life, stop watching the news until they start reporting the miracles instead of the tragedies) and I realized that every single one of them is somebody’s child. So what went wrong?
It made me think of what I wanted to pass along to my son. If I could wave a magic wand and give him a rule book to live by that he would follow, what would it be?
Well, here goes:
1) Treat each day as if it was your first. Bring the same wonder and excitement to every day and experience as you do now – like it’s fresh and there’s something to learn from it.
2) Be kind. How people treat you has nothing to do with you, so no matter what, be kind. Be especially kind to those who are less fortunate than you.
3) Don’t be a pushover. It’s ok to stand up for what you believe in and it’s also ok to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Actually, it’s wrong NOT to.
4) Never stop questioning (even as I write this I realize how maddening this one may get for us, but still) – ALWAYS ask the question until you understand whatever it is you were seeking to understand. Assumptions only get us in trouble.
5) Learn to cook. (Don’t worry – I’ll teach you :)) Never underestimate the goodness that can come from a home-cooked meal. (Besides, chicks dig a man who can cook. Trust me on that one. I cooked for your mom on our 2nd date)
6) Clean up after yourself. Nobody likes a slob. And also, for the same reason as rule #5.
7) Treat everyone with respect. And demand the same from everyone you interact with. If someone doesn’t respect you, walk away. Let them work it out.
8) Be chivalrous. Treat women well. Holding doors for them and picking them up to go out on a date goes a long way. (Trust me on this one too)
9) But don’t be a door mat in relationships. (see rule #3 and #7) I’ve been there and done that and no good comes from it. It’s NEVER ok to sublimate yourself to make someone else feel better. If you feel you have to, she (or he – we don’t care either way) is not the one for you.
10) Follow your dreams and follow your bliss. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that you can’t achieve anything. As long as you believe, and work hard, you WILL achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life (just look at your mom and dad)
11) “Good enough” isn’t. Always do your best in everything you do. Your best will change from one day to the next, don’t judge yourself. (yes, this comes directly from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I can’t think of a better way to live life)
12) Love is ALWAYS the answer. Even when it seems like it isn’t. (except on math tests, or any other academic tests – please study for those) If someone acts hatefully, it’s because they REALLY need love.
13) Speak your truth. Always and in all ways. It’s better to hurt someone with the truth than to flatter them with a lie. Speak your truth, but make sure to do it gently.
14) Never compare yourself to others. Your path is your own. You don’t know where others have been or where they’re going. Walk your own path and be your own person. Nobody else can be you.
15) Follow your inspired thoughts. (as long as they don’t involve hurting someone else, they are divine) These are the gut instincts that tell you to go this way instead of the other, or to talk to that person or grab and read that book. Which brings me to:
16) Read books. I don’t care if they’re fiction, non-fiction or self-help. Just read. You’ll thank me for that one one day.
17) If you fall, get back up again. It’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get back up. Sometimes events will knock you down. Know that you are never “out”. You can always come back. (I know how stubborn you are already, so I’m not particularly worried about this one)
18) If you’re wrong, admit it and apologize as soon as you realize it. Take responsibility for your actions. Each one has consequences. Speaking of which,
19) THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. Words, once spoken, cannot be taken back. Sometimes, they can cut deeper than the sharpest knife. Make them count.
20) Dance. Or sing. Or whatever. Do something that makes you smile every day.
21) Be grateful. There’s ALWAYS something to be grateful for. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way.
22) Be positive. It’s hard sometimes, but look on the bright side. If it’s hard to find, keep looking. Trust me, it’s there somewhere. (Ask your mom about this one if you’re having difficulty – she’s the authority on this)
23) Forgive. If someone has the courage to ask for forgiveness, be strong enough to do so. Besides, holding a grudge only hurts YOU in the end.
24) Your reputation precedes you. Guard it and follow through on your promises. It takes a lot of hard work and experience to build a positive reputation and it can be completely ruined with one thoughtless action. “Live your life in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, nobody would believe it” (I don’t know where that quote came from, I just remember seeing it on Facebook somewhere, so, social networking isn’t all bad)
25) Listen. REALLY listen to people when they talk to you. Sometimes, that’s the absolute best thing that you can do for someone. Pay attention to them. Don’t just hear, LISTEN and REMEMBER what they tell you. (Again, your mom is the expert on this one)
And, always remember, we love you. Mom and I have loved you since before you were born and we will love you no matter what. No. Matter. What. We will always support you completely.
That’s what I would tell him. Since there’s no magic wand, I guess we’ll just have to teach him, one rule at a time.
All in good time.
Right now, I just want him to stop reaching into the garbage can in the kitchen.