I never spent a lot of time with my father.
He wasn’t around – or particularly interested.
When he was nearby, he often closed himself off. Headphones on, he listened to music instead of acknowledging my sister and me.
So, with my kids, I try to be there for them.
I try my best to be at all of their games and performances. I tour schools with my wife. To be honest with you, it’s not my favorite thing in the world (to put it lightly), but we want to make sure they’re going to the best schools and have the best start in life.
We only have one chance to be a positive influence, build them up, help them be the best versions of themselves.
We only have one chance to be in this moment with them, today.
“But why am I so impatient?” I sometimes ask myself. “Why do I lose my cool so quickly? Why are some of the things that they are into so difficult for me to accept and show interest in?”
My father was that way. Disinterested. Impatient. He had a quick fuse.
But I wasn’t around him enough to be molded in his image, so where do my shortcomings come from?
We put my son in therapy this week to help him talk through what he is feeling around our recent move.
He is very angry with me and still misses his friends. He is slow to make friends, not because others don’t want to be his friend, but because he doesn’t want to put himself out there.
Where does that come from?
As I wrestle with these questions and issues, I think about the two high school-age children that recently took their own lives in Los Angeles.
They were children of acquaintances of mine, from well-to-do families and part of a very prestigious school.
I cannot help but worry. I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can for my kids, so they never have to feel so lost and alone.
Nature is so important, but we cannot dismiss the impact nurture has on ourselves and our children, too.
The world is so different from the time we grew up. Everything moves so much faster. It all seems so superficial. There’s less care given to having conversations, discussing things, or even just slowing down.
As difficult as those actions are for me, I am trying to make these priority number one.
We only have one chance at this, so we need to make the most of it.
I feel like I owe it to my children, my family, and even owe it to myself.