Have you ever given what was never yours?
Let me explain. I am friends with two brothers. I knew these boys when they were small – 6 months old and 3 years old. Their father abandoned them and their mother right after the youngest was born, so for thirty-plus years their father-figure influences have come in spurts and bursts from uncles, grandfathers, a strong loving mother and perhaps books read and life experiences. There has never been a steady full-time father figure in either boy’s life to guide him, nurture him.
Today, both brothers have children of their own. One might surmise that their child rearing skills would be lacking. Not so. As I watch these men from a distance, I see stellar qualities. I see love, delight and joy over their own flesh-and-blood child. Somewhere along the line both boys realized the beginnings of their own lives did not have to be passed forward and made great decisions along the way to change the outcome for their own kids.
Instead of abandonment, I see cherished times.
Instead of rejection, I see love and delight over their kids.
They have found a way to give great love, great nurturing, and great acceptance out of an empty well in their own story. They are giving from a place that never existed.
How can one do that?
To answer that, I need to relate another short story.
There once was a father who had twin sons. The father was an alcoholic and showed no responsibility for his family duties and ended up abandoning his sons and family. His life ended in death from a drunken stupor.
As the sons grew, their lives took divergent paths. One son followed in his father’s footsteps and he too became addicted to alcohol and a life of irresponsibility.
The other son became an upstanding man of his community and an abstainer of alcohol in all forms.
When in their sixties, both boys, now men, were interviewed and they were asked why they turned out the way they have, given the kind of role model they had in their birth father.
Both men gave the exact same answer.
“With a father like mine, what did you expect?”
One saw his derelict father and felt the only course open to him was to follow in those footsteps.
The other son saw his derelict father and said, “There has to be a better way.” He sought and found that better way.
What are we talking about here? We’re talking about the power of CHOICE!”
We each control the button of choice. My two friends in the earlier story chose to respond in love, integrity, responsibility and nurture. Their bold actions stopped the cycle of abandonment. They are giving two small children a life full of hope and love.
What choices can you and I make that have good and lasting effect for now and for generations to come?
That is my constant question, and I’ll never stop asking, seeking and answering that one.
Have a marvelous New Year!
P Michael Biggs
One Word at a Time