Parenting is a challenge unlike any other we will ever face. The task of raising a child (or multiple children) from infancy to productive adulthood — with all its ever-changing complexities and day-to-day nuances — can be daunting. Despite these challenges, we press on. Because we love our kids like crazy — and they are worth it. But disturbing trends in modern society add truckloads of undue pressure to this already stressful task. And this pressure comes most often…from other parents.
Last Christmas season, I thought it would be nice to try out a little mini-project that had been percolating in my brain for a few years. Unfortunately, I got a late start on my idea and it never really had the chance to get rolling. Well this year, I have given myself and any other participants plenty of lead time, and I’d like to ask you again if you would consider being involved.
Some people in this world make insane amounts of money, but billionaire industrialist and Gotham City playboy Bruce Wayne takes personal income to unimaginable levels of insane. Wayne is filthy rich, to be sure, but there is a side of Mr. Wayne and his globally-dominant Wayne Industries that many people do not see: The Wayne Foundation, his generous philanthropy organization. I got to tour the Phoenix offices of Wayne Industries this week, and I am going to leak a few very interesting secrets about the legendary Bruce Wayne (SPOLIER: Bruce Wayne is merely a secret identity for a well-known superhero).
Some of the jobs I have held over the years have been downright awful. I remember working one summer during college at a factory that manufactured those hard-shelled briefcases (like the ones James Bond would carry). Every day I woke up early, drove downtown, did 8 hours of manual labor at minimum wage, bought my lunch from a dirty taco truck, and listened to my supervisor try to fit as many vulgar terms for female body parts into one sentence as he could — and he was proficient, let me tell you.
Menial jobs like that one suffocated me because I never felt a passion for hauling briefcase parts from one part of the factory to another for weeks on end. I wanted a job I loved — one that I was passionate about. Oddly enough, I have learned that having a job I love can be even more draining than any of the jobs I hated.
I have often thought about how drastically the process of getting married has changed from when my grandparents were young. For one thing, the time between boy-and-girl-meet and boy-and-girl-marry was much shorter than it is today. Back then, it was relatively common for a courtship to last only a few months. Now it seems commonplace for couples to be engaged for years on end. Many people would say that delaying marriage is a good thing, but I am convinced otherwise.
If you are familiar with the story behind our adoption of Harrison, you will remember that the recurring theme of the entire process was “there has been a change of plan”. Nothing went the way we planned with Harrison’s adoption, and as we set out again on the path of adding to the family, we were taken on another journey that we could never have imagined.
Today I saw a Facebook post of some friends of mine who have been foster parents for a sibling group of three little kids over the last few years. The post included a cute, professional family photo of them smiling with their foster kids and their new baby. The caption below it read, “Took a family picture before my oldest daughter has to go live with her bio dad.” The photo and the caption broke my heart.
We all want our kids to be successful, to be people who make an impact in the world. No good parent looks at his kid and says, “I just want him to be average,” or “If she could be a follower, I’d be so proud.” Still, the world is full of average people, and society is filled with folks who are followers. At what point do parental desires fail to boost our kids past the
reality that more people are average than are great, and what can we do to make sure our kids don’t fizzle into the haze of averageness?
You know you’re getting old when you find yourself telling kids, “I can’t believe how big you are! I remember when you were [insert distant memory here].” The kids roll their their eyes just like we did, confirming our official acceptance in the Weird Things Adults Say Club, and we walk away wondering how we allowed ourselves to become just like the distant relatives and family friends that we swore we’d never be.
Everyone who truly loves Christmas also loves to see neighborhoods decked-out in true holiday spirit. As we walk/drive/sleigh through each year’s winter wonderland of lights, we see homes with decorations that fill us so full of Christmas Spirit that we could swear we are one carol away from bursting.