“Is this who you would want to be?’’
“Would you want to be the kind of person who does that?”
“Would you want to win that way?”
It’s probably not the most orthodox parenting style. I will offer the possible outcomes of their actions from my experience in life to help them along and perhaps my tone is more persuasive when I am describing the better option but ultimately, I want them to learn it all. I want them to know what it feels like to make the right decision and what it feels like to make the wrong one; when someone else is watching and when no one is watching. Experience is the best teacher. I just really want them to be kind and strong because even though we have so much, life is not easy.
What you do matters. How you do things matters. Working hard matters. Good grades matter. Good neighbours matter. Helping others matters. Cooking good food and sharing a table with children regularly matters. Smiling at people, waving at people in the country, holding the door for anyone including the elderly, pregnant women, and yes, even young capable strong white men. Within reason, and without too much disruption, we can take the one or two seconds it takes to be kind. Is it appreciated? Who knows? Why does it matter? Because all of these things feel good and do good and they hurt no one, and they all add up to make your life. Who do you want to be?
What is it all about? Everyone has their own way of understanding this question, but for me, the simplest way to boil it down is that most of us know right from wrong and good from bad and at the end of it all, when we look back or even after we’re gone, how do we want to be remembered? What lessons are we teaching? How much are we loving? We are all going to make mistakes; the point is to try to be better until the end. The objective is to try to do some good in the world. This is what I believe “it” is all about.