Things I Wish I’d Told My Kids

I wish I’d known more what life would bring us when my children were still children. I tried to raise them believing in the best of life, with hope, knowing that God and the angels were watching over them. I tried to raise them to be kind and to help those who needed them. I knew they had only one parent; I so wished I could make up for their loss.

I don’t regret any of that—I just wish I’d thrown in more about the choices we make and how they affect our lives. More about the dark side of life and how it lives in us—how it taps us and how we tap into it. It’s breathtaking, really, how easily we turn to the dark side (especially when we’re driving). How glamorous its presentation in the movies. How thoroughly spine-tingling it is to watch darkness erupt in others, or even, should we dare to turn around, to witness our own wild selves in our dreams.

Shall I curse the darkness? If I do, I’ll be cursing myself and everyone I love. The darkness is our teacher. Break the law and go to jail. Cheat and lose your spouse or significant other. Eat, drink or medicate too much and you’re an addict. Hands to the flame are: Burned.

This is particularly frustrating when we’re young. “You’re not the boss of me!” we assert, shaking a one-fingered fist at the sky. And it’s true. We have free will. We have free will! We’re mini-me-gods, and we can serve, or be serviced. We can care or not. Give or take. Make peace or war.

We can create–at least in America we can. Create! Unbelievable. We can follow our own dreams. We can get an education, build a business or a home. Or not. We can create another being like ourselves—and we don’t even have to be in love. We can worship in a church, a temple, a mosque, a forest, in prayer and meditation, or not at all. We can spin out, devastating our loved ones, leaving a trail of pain behind us. We can hate, take up racism and work to destroy others and their hopes for a good life.

To what end, this free will? What is the essence, the value, of life? Experience. Growth. Awareness. Shall we skip along the surface of life, or dig a little deeper and get to know who we really are? I can attest, the years do zoom by.

Related Post:  A Prayer for My Children

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