Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

To boldly go …

January 30, 2011

As I’ve gotten older and find myself perpetually propelled into fatherhood, the hardest part has been trying to get ahold of myself, so I can hold me up to the light – and study me. I can figure just about any damn thing out – but me, myself and I tend to be the most enigmatic. Thus, my blast off into manhood has been a lot like building the rocket while its in flight.

I suppose that’s typical of any man’s launch, but at least for my boys, they’ll have manuals.

I keep a journal for each of them. Every year when they have a birthday, I write three or four pages in their book. My plan is to give them each their journal when they too blast off, and leave the mother ship.

I write a good deal about who they are, what qualities (good and not-so-good) they have at present, and who I hope they will grow into. I infuse that with some age-old wisdom and general advice I’ve collected along my own voyage.

I realize it’s a pretty ambitious goal to capture the essence of the first 18-20 years of a boy’s life. But the key is that is that it is cumulative; a few pages each year. That’s manageable.

I think many people try to do this at first, but few follow through. Take baby books for example. I have one. It has my name on it and a picture of a green giraffe. It’s a nice keepsake. But a few locks of curly hair in a ziplock baggy and a sentence about “when mommy and daddy brought me home” hasn’t really helped me to know myself or to navigate the galaxy that is manhood.

Aristotle, a man devoted to understanding the universe and the heavenly bodies within, once said, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” I know that what has helped me, maybe even the most, has been understanding myself better; my strengths, my weaknesses, my abilities and my limitations. Self awareness for me is the net result of years of deep thinking, much trial and twice as much error.

Of course I’m still learning, but I’ve made some great discoveries while floating out here in the vastness of outer space.

When my boys launch, I hope the universe will be just as endless, just as spectacular, just as dynamic and even as overwhelming and challenging for them as it has for me. And I know the better they know themselves, the more confidently they will fly toward the far reaches of it.