My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
— Jim Valvano
I am a father. When my children were young, I tried to shape their values and their beliefs, in the hope that they would become people I could be proud of. As they grew, they started to form their own ideas of right and wrong, of good and bad, of compassion and indifference. They became individuals, with beliefs and opinions, wants and desires of their own.
When they were young, I could fix their hurts and salve their wounds. As they grew, they were hurt in wounded in ways I could not cure. They struggled with identity and relationships. They came to know, first hand, that life is not fair. And I could not fix these things. I could only say, “You are a good, capable person, and I love you very much. I will stand by you, I can comfort you, but you must work through this problem yourself. I believe that you can do it.”
Now they are adults, striking out on their own, to build and shape a life outside the cradle and confines of my family. They will do things I am proud of, and they will disappoint me. They will make choices that I fundamentally disagree with, and their life will go in directions that I can not anticipate. I am still their father, and I still love them. Whatever they do, wherever life takes them, I will continue to believe in them.
Al-Anon recovery has given me this gift. It is a gift of knowing that my needs and desires are not theirs. It is a gift of knowing that they each have their own higher power, and it is not me. It is a gift of living in the present, to neither regret the past nor fear the future. It is a gift of loving and enjoying what I have rather than ruing what might have been. It is a gift of loving my children for exactly who they are and believing in their goals and aspirations. This is the gift that all of you have given me today, this Fathers Day, 2013.
A meditation for June 16, 2013. (The second sunday in June is celebrated in the USA as Fathers Day.)