To Alfons on your 18th birthday (2012-03-11)


Becoming an adult at 18 is a legal milestone in our country and culture .. And note, "It's not voluntary!" .. either from our side as your parents, or from your side as a young adult. Welcome to the world of living with your choices!!

Parents can and do try to teach their children many things – but some things are only learned -- 'by doing it on your own'.

An important example of this kind of challenge for you as you launch out into the beginning of adulthood, is in learning the elusive, but all-important  balance in life that's  so important.

- Not to much – not to little

- Not to conservative and careful yet not to rash and daring

- Allow your emotions and feelings to guide you -- but not to lead you astray.

- Stand firmly by your principles and be proud of them, -- but still find ways to honourably navigate around the people  and experiences in life that defy your moral values.

- Don't be ashamed to do your 'own thing' - to 'march to your own drummer'  -- but at the same time show respect and admiration to those around you who are still strugggling to find their own 'beat' in life.

- Work hard, and strive for excellence and gain -- but still leave generous time and place for the little unplanned opportunities of the day. -  Opportunities for little smiles, for encouragement, and simple expressions of kindness and understanding, that often will open up to you in your life amongst others. This is far more important for your fulfillment and happiness than most other things you may do. 


This balance isn't something learned in books – but life will teach it, as it still is trying to teach us all. 

Alfons, we do trust you, but both your mother and I have stumbled in this process often enough ourselves, to feel a certain suspense as you launch out into life on your own. This is just because we love you.

A great English writer wrote a famous poem to his son, somewhat on this subject.  I would like to share it with  you.  Rudyard Kiplings "IF" is  long,  so I have just chosen 4 of its 8 verses - Don't miss the last one.


IF you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

And now the sum of it all!

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


Your dad and mom

Link to other family writings