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
If you can
bear to hear the truth you've spoken
And now the sum of it all!
If you can
fill the unforgiving minute
|Link to other family writings|