Sniff! They grow up so fast!
A couple weeks back, my blog pal, Harula, posted a writing exercise. The theme was “Purpose” and the idea was to complete the following four prompts with whatever spontaneous musings sprung to mind.
* When I was a child, I believed I was here to…
* As a teenager, I believed I was here to…
* As an adult, I believe I am here to…
* The most important thing life has taught me is…
The answers to the first two prompts can be found here. In this post, I get the last two:
As an adult, I believe I am here to…
…write. It’s trite for a writer to say this, but I do believe it. I hope that one of my books outlives me. I hope that it might be handed down to the next generation, the same way I gave my old children’s books to my son.
But my son is the big reason why I’m here – to raise him the best way I know how, which is almost certainly not as good as it should be.
Parenting doesn’t come naturally to me, for I’m too solitary and regimented. Now that I’m a dad, I am in a sort of war with myself to resist these natural inclinations.
Fortunately, Ellen is better at this sort of thing. Not a moment goes by when I am not grateful for her presence, for it is she who shoves me back on the right parenting path on the occasions I become too hermit-ish.
I have one child. When people ask me why Ellen and I don’t have more, I have a stock answer: “My boy got all of our best traits,” I say. “A second child would get all the the genetic diarrhea.”
I’ve been told that this is not how science works, but I still choose to believe it.
Another reason I have only one child is because one child works for me. I don’t like messing with what works.
“Once you have two kids, three is easy,” a dad leading a parade of screeching moppets once told me.
“But you have four,” I pointed out.
“And once you have three, four is even easier,” he replied, his smile wide and condescending. It was the smile that got me. The smile said, “You don’t have what it takes, Buddy Boy,” and it stung because I knew he was right.
But I was also thinking, “Well, at least I’ll be able to pay for college, Mr. Smug Guy.”
That’s another reason why I’m here. I believe that, if possible, kids should graduate college no worse than flat broke. It troubles me that college debt is The New Normal. I will do whatever it takes to keep that from happening to my son. It’s hard enough to build up from nothing without having to begin one’s adulthood deep in the red.
The most important thing life has taught me is…
…that failure is not a big deal. I’ve spent much of my adult life screaming this fact from the rooftops. I’ve seen way too many people more talented than I give up on their dreams way too soon because the idea of failing is just way too terrifying.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Jealous?
I believe that almost every success I had is based on the fact that I’ve simply refused to stop trying. I love to repeat my old chestnut, “I got 114 rejections before my first book contract,” because I’m proud of it. I think that my many rejections say more about me than my one book does. It says that I will never give up.
Granted, it also says that I’m a little tweaked. But, hey, for a writer, that’s just par for the course.
So! What’s the most important thing that’s life has taught you? Tell me in the comments!