We do not have answers for everything. We only make you think we do.
Especially at those times when you say you would rather do something else besides go to school today. And then we might tell you about things like responsibility or accepting the world for what it is instead of how you want it to be. And if it would seem to you as if we understood the world, its travels, its little secrets, one day you will grow old enough to know we were only pretending. By that time you might also come to understand why we had to. We pretend also for you, because you need it. Or you would be an unsettled and confused child and we do not want that for you.
We’ve been unsettled and confused many times in our lives. Our parents were not perfect either. And we all lived in an unsettling and confusing world entirely different than what we have now. Was it worse or better?
We only know it was different. We had fewer things. We had no Internet, there were only five or six channels on TV. We had no computer games. We did not spend hours in front of a screen monitor watching pixels of color moving in front of us or playing a game with a stranger on the opposite part of the planet. We did not do social networking. The networking went only as far as the neighborhood and the friends we had in school. And when we talked to them we talked to them face to face instead of Facebook.
The world seemed bigger but only because our part of it seemed smaller. It went only as far as our feet could carry us. And when we rode, the roads were always harder to travel through. Everything was many more hours farther than they are now. And so the whole world moved much slower. We waited weeks to get any reply by mail. We waited as well for new movies to come to town. And we talked about them before, while and after they did. We always had something to talk about.
We wonder what you talk about now. We wonder if you talk about the good things to be learned from watching what appears on screen. You have many more screens than we ever did. We worry if they ever teach you the right things.
We read books. More often than not, they were the same books our parents read. We could talk about them. Compare notes of what they meant and whether or not they were good to read. We cannot do that with you as much as we should. Our worlds have grown so much farther apart. And so we worry and do the best we can.
Every parent is a builder of ramparts and enclosures. But how can anything be enclosed in the world that we have now. Parents are builders of spaces of protection even if what they build might only be shanties and little condo units. They are builders of homes. But there is no guarantee these spaces withstand all the ravages. They never do. In a time, everything falls.
As falls our certainty, our glib replies to all your questions, our quick solutions for all the problems coming your way. Will you grow up well? We do not know for sure. We hope you will at least grow better than us.
And so we make sure you will have breakfast on the table when you wake up and still half asleep put on your uniforms. We straighten your collars, brush the lint from your shoulders and ask if your hair is too short or has grown too long. We see that your lunch boxes are filled with all you might need for the day. We drive you to school and worry about what happens to you there. We worry because we do not have the time to live your lives for you although we wish we could. But even if you allowed us to we could not do it. We would mess it up worse than you could ever do. Of that we are sure. You do not even need to ask how and why. We were there once, also. Once is all we ever get. Our one time is spent. This one time is yours. It is entirely up to you.
And we can only trust you to make the best of it. And when you don’t, we can only forgive and urge you to keep trying. We can only wish you well.