Six months have come and gone since we last embraced and teachings from the family, and it feels an appropriate time for a check-in. With the advent of new seasons, new schools, new routines, and new ideas, Father finds no shortage of challenges, and in turn: no shortage of opportunity for growth. While much has indeed occurred in the many trips around the Sun since our last check-in, there are still some constants and reliabilities we can account for, namely that the children do not shy away from providing guidance to their papa, and that his love for them continues to reach beyond places he thought possible. So with all of that in mind: let’s take a look at some of the key events from his journal:
Lesson Thirty-Three, In Which Father Comes to Terms
A weekly tradition between Father and his daughters has developed, in which the evening of the fourth day of each new week becomes their own. A time when the three of them can enjoy dedicated moments for games, food, exploration and discovery. Amongst these activities is, of course, the immersion into various fantastical worlds and story telling. This past week they discovered a tale of cross-country travel, mystery and espionage, as the parents within the story were discovered to be top secret agents; spies working to bring the world to a better, safer place. Father watched his daughters eyes grow wide as the discovery that parents could be anything more than simply being the providers of food and piggy back rides sunk in.
“Are you enjoying this story?” he asked his two curious little ladies.
“Yes, it’s so cool!” they replied, practically in unison.
“What do you think? Are Mommy and Daddy cool enough to be top secret spies with fancy gadgets and gizmos?”
“Well, Mommy for sure, yes. And you, Daddy, you’re pretty funny, so I think you could be a good clown.”
Lesson Thirty-Four, in which father learns from himself
Father enjoys his walks, particularly when they occur during that specific point of the evening when the world begins to quiet and the stars start to poke their holes in the sky. To get even more specific, there exists a rare and fleeting period that hovers between Summer and Fall, three days, maybe a week if we’re lucky, where you can find yourself in the midst of something that occurs at no other point in our calendar year. It never appears in the same window and therefor can never be predicted; when it arrives one simply knows it, and those lucky enough will be able to sit, walk or bask in its glory, embracing it for what it is. It is peace. It is calm. It is a feeling and a knowing all at once that a change is about to come, yet this calm we’re sitting in, for this particular moment, lets us know that the change is what’s intended, and it’s all going to be ok. Father, as anyone else would, appreciates this moment and it only took him 42 years to understand what that means.
“My dear, I am just heading out for a walk, I won’t be too long.” he shares.
“Enjoy, it’s is quite the evening out there.” she lovingly replies.
To describe in detail the moments which followed would almost negate the purpose of this lesson. Instead, simply close your eyes and imagine what the air of a ‘time between seasons’ might feel like, what the sound of ‘quiet’ might spark in your being, and what the absence of concern might do for your mind.
“Dear self: this peace, this solitude: it’s meant for you. Please accept it.”
Lesson Thirty-Five, In which father seeks gratitude over guilt
Pick any day or night in the life of Father, and you’ll be sure to find an inner conflict through which he battles over a choice that puts his desires over his perceived desires of another. This evening in particular was no different, as the kids plans an agenda that differed greatly from his own; and after multiple pleas for them to go to the park, he started to question his decisions…
“Shall I take our daughters to the park, or stay in to work on my journals?” he asks is partner in life.
“I would happy to take them, my love, you stay here and enjoy this healthy and important tradition you’ve created for yourself.”
“But am I not putting my own wants and desires over that of my children? Doesn’t that make me a bad parent?”
“Don’t consider this a placing of your desires over theirs, think of this instead as you caring for your well-being, which in turn only benefits this entire family. There is a lesson in here for them that the wants, needs and desires of others carry an importance on multiple levels and can’t simply be cast aside at their demand. That’s an important concept for them to grasp for their future, as much as it is for them to respect the evening you had already planned for yourself.”
“But the guilt that I feel – you are now taking your evening to jockey them about and partake in their activities rather than your own. It just doesn’t seem right or fair and I am sorry.”
“My love – handsome, exquisite, fearless, courageous and born of a greatness that puts to shame all that has come before us; whose strength and will can move mountains: rather than say sorry, simply say: thank you.”
Lesson Thirty-Six, In which Father Does Not Know Best
There are many times throughout the day, week, month or year, in which Father learns, because of these entries, we certainly know to be true. There are many other times, however, where the roles reverse and Father becomes the teacher; guiding and encouraging his children as parents tend to do. He may impart some wisdom of the stars, engage them in the science of the kitchen, or provide ever-lasting words to live by. There are many old adages, however, which can only be classified as a miss.
“Daddy, why do we need to brush our teeth before bed?”
“Because it is an important part of growing and staying healthy.”
“But why do we have to do it for two full minutes?”
“Because that makes sure your teeth are super clean.”
“But why do we have to do it every morning and every night?”
This barrage of “why” didn’t seem to show its end, and so Father resorted to the only thing that came to mind:
“You need to brush your teeth because I am your parent, and as a parent, with all things: Parents know best.”
“But Daddy, 20+9 is 29. That is something I know and no one can know better, so how can you possibly know that ‘best’?”
Lesson Thirty-Seven, in which Father Chooses Poorly
Choice can be a wonderful thing. We are presented with options, be they toppings for our iced cream, the book we pick form the shelf, the preferred outfit for the day ahead, or the next selection of model in our precious, valuable, rare, and all to importantly therapeutic building block collection. These choices can be difficult, yes, but we should be thankful to have them, as I’m sure most would agree. Then there are times where choices could be best set aside for conclusive decision.
“Girls, which story shall it be this evening? The one about the wizard boy, or the one about the superhero princess?”
The question seemed simple, but the speed at which the scenario escalated caught Father by surprise. The desires of each child could not have been more different in that moment, and before he knew it there was an upheaval of pillows, blankets, books and furniture, the likes of which he had not witnessed before or since. It would seem the wizard boy and the princess were at odds.
Some time later, after the dust had settled and the furniture was reset; the mood had calmed and Father breached the subject of conflict.
“Girls, what just occurred seemed an unnecessary argument that could have been resolved through conversation and, perhaps, some suggested alternatives. What could we do differently next time?”
“Well Daddy, if you aren’t prepared for us to disagree or argue, then next time you should choose the book”
Another chapter closes as a new one begins. What comes next for the Beandricks family I suppose only the future can know. For now, however, we can revel in the fact that the experiences they immerse themselves into continue to shape positive, happy individuals.