If you’re lucky, you run out of things to teach your children. If you’re lucky, you wake up one day and recognize that there are at least a few areas where they have surpassed you, and that is quite all right.
It could be dealing with extended family or maintaining friendships, work-life balance or cooking, sales or Wordle…slowly the kids turn into adults and the relationships shift. If you’re lucky, you end up in a ton of peer-to-peer conversations, where you’re sharing ideas instead of imparting wisdom.
If you’re lucky.
The idea of my kids surpassing me isn’t new. I recall thinking about it one afternoon as I was clearing the set from a theater after one of their shows. I walked out on the stage, looked across at the empty seats, and realized that my kids would be more comfortable dealing with people, more competent in a crowd, and just a bit less fearful than I was, because they put themselves out on a stage to perform in front of strangers. I knew they already had a power I would never have, or never have in as great an abundance as my teen-aged daughters.
If you’re lucky, you can watch your kids—I shouldn’t call them kids anymore since they have kids of their own—as they build a life and create a home and plot their own journeys. You can hope they learned something from watching you, paying attention to your mistakes and your successes.
You can hope they’ll avoid your mistakes, but you cannot hope for them to replicate your successes, because their journey is all about their successes now. Consciously or not, they’ve sifted through their memories and all the dinner-table conversations and set their own priorities for their lives, so any resemblance to your journey is curated, not ordained.
I like spending time with people who are younger than I am, gaining new ideas and varied perspectives about the world. I enjoy the opportunity to update my thinking, master the slang, and generally be much cooler than all the other oldsters I deal with the rest of the day. My favorite companions are a couple of women who are very smart and likable adults, generous hosts, and very open to extended conversations. Yes, I fed them and clothed them and dealt with all their nonsense for 20 years, but that was then and this is now.
If you’re lucky, you can step back one day and take a fresh look at your children. You can see them as they are now, ignoring the path that brought them there, and recognize these are adults you would like to know today. These are adults who are interesting and smart and accomplished and level-headed and a joy to be with. These are adults you can debate ideas with and share experiences with and respect as they forge their own paths.
If you’re lucky.
Some days, we just feel really grateful over at Dad Writes and we always feel very, very grateful when someone clicks here to subscribe.
One of the things I really like about mentoring is the opportunity to redeem myself, at least partially, for some of my dumbest mistakes. I can’t go back and make better choices, of course, but maybe I can help someone else avoid the stupid choices that still make me cringe.
I wonder if we can do the same thing for ourselves as we look back at the last two years of pandemic mistakes, misperceptions and mischaracterizations. Maybe we need to mentor ourselves about all the ways we blew it and how we can avoid those mistakes in the future. For instance…
After two full years of this series, this is the last of the Covid Diary entries. What will we fixate on next? Click here to subscribe and you’ll be amazed at what happens.
Now that we’re starting our third year of this thing, it’s time to revisit our mass delusions…
Shortsighted business strategies, really confusing political calculations, and the decisions we’ve already made are high on my list of unfavorite things this week.
*So it turns out that Stalin might not have made this observation, but we haven’t completed our research to identify the true author of the quote. Subscribers will learn the source as soon as we find it, which is a great reason to click here to subscribe.
For the first time in my life, I’m feeling sorry for the people in the human resources department. I’m not talking about the challenges of finding workers in a rebounding economy, though. Really, I’m feeling their pain as they plan to bring workers back from their couches to their cubicles.
Companies large and small are demanding that employees return to the Mother Ship, possibly now and definitely by September, and you can measure the grumbling on the Richter Scale. People will be showing up angry and resentful, and it’s going to be the HR department’s job to rebuild cohesive teams.
Good luck on that one.
After 18 months of remote control, America’s workforce is about to be reintroduced to traffic jams, parking fees and doing laundry more than once a month. They’ll suddenly remember why they hated Eleanor from accounting and why everyone was in a big hurry to use the restroom before Fred arrived at the office. It won’t be pretty.
At the very least, HR departments can alleviate the pain by installing Keurig machines at every desk and keeping the lights as dim as possible. Beyond that minimum, it would be an excellent idea to avoid “team building exercises” and “social interactions” for at least a couple of months.
Meanwhile, returning workers should do their best to adjust their own expectations and behaviors in this brave old world. For example:
Welcome back to the office, everyone. What could possibly go wrong?
Employees aren’t allowed to clip their toenails at their desks, but reading Dad Writes posts is absolutely encouraged by HR departments everywhere. Just click here to subscribe.
Ignoring the rest of the world, a break for working stiffs, and our surprise when normal things happen…
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.