With Jason starting college and Christian entering his sophomore year, looking back on this message seems more pertinent a year and a half after it was authored by what they’ve learned since that time and will learn in the days ahead.
“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” — John Locke
I guess it makes sense to take seriously the guy whose philosophy essentially served as the foundation of the Declaration of Independence.
For most of us, it’s a bit humbling to find that all the knowledge imparted to us in school and from those more experienced during our youth actually has some application to so many of the situations that eventually confronted us. More frustrating are the ones we ignored or forgot about before our wrong choices were made, or were revealed or accepted too late to change the unfortunate outcomes.
I know quite a bit of what I’ve written may seem like I’m speaking another language or outside of your understanding at this point. It’s probably more true for Christian since he’s only thirteen and I use words that haven’t floated to the top for him to reel in yet. But what’s cool is that Christian understands some of the basic messages I’m trying to get across (ten better reasons to be in a good mood than one to be in a bad one, feeling good about himself, etc) and we talk about them on occasion or more surprisingly, he repeats some of the phrases to remind me of where my thinking needs to rest. It was cool when one day Jason told me he found himself, kind of reluctantly, using some of the things I’ve said or written to him in discussions with his girlfriend and friends for whatever intended benefit. And then there’s Deb repeating my common phrase of “making things happen” as the motivation behind being more proactive when just thinking about things is not acceptable or beneficial.
Please understand that I get personal joy in sharing suggestions and recommendation to you boys and anyone who may benefit from them because it satisfies my desire for exploring the pivotal foundation of my intellect and it’s connection to the wealth of my soul. There is certainly freedom in this exercise but it also allows me to bring to the forefront my strength, my flaws, and their coexistence with everything in between.
And for you guys, it’s more than an exercise because I’m sharing with you propositions on how you may make better choices for presumably, a better life for you and who you share it with. I’m not trying to be a profit or a preacher because if perceived as either, you’d find me more annoying by seeing me telling you what to do when I’m only suggesting a better and more profound way of doing things. I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the times I’ve been a “fool” and a “genius” and now know the difference through what I’ve learned through my own reflections and recall of what I was taught from so many people who cared enough to give a “damn” about me! For me in a way, it’s just payback time for people I more than give a “damn” about and that includes an abundance of people I know or come across that I care about including you!
There is a freedom in being open-minded to any source of knowledge that you acquire and exercise it independently of your own accord. That is how you can successfully “swing for the fences” for the best things that YOU want for yourselves, and not succumb to the momentary needs of others that only get you to the “warning track” of those goals. Your parents and family are right there with you, no matter how you interpret it, because we’ve know you better and longer. Moreover you are part of the trademarks that we will leave behind on this universe once our mortal guidance comes to a close.
Also don’t eliminate the importance of the information your teachers attempt to provide because there will come a day when out of the blue, something they got across will find relevance during your future travels. Remember that they are underpaid but still have the passion to wake up each morning and walk into a classroom of teenagers, (who sometimes foolishly think they more than they do) and share knowledge because they give a “damn” about you individually, as a group, and as a community. Challenge your freedom to learn and if brave enough, question that knowledge if you don’t understand or disagree with it because it leads to the magical transition to enlightenment. Trust me it’s a better approach than after-the-fact reflection because that generally requires misfortune to reveal it.
I think it’s funny that when we’re younger, we frequently ignore or neglect the knowledge available to us because we think more than we do. When we’re older, we do the same due to the stubborn belief that we’ve learned and know more than enough so that application of further knowledge is unnecessary or unwarranted. We’re so wrong and can be such narcissistic mortals at times, can’t we?
Revelations to our predetermined mindset occur every day and we are better served to at least be open to meaningful consideration of any information before dismissing their usefulness. In most situations we know enough to get by and others, the door is open for something to introduce itself. Whether it’s subtle or directly in front of our eyes for contemplation, that can take us farther and maybe alter the change of OUR WORLDS towards the majestic! Remember accepting the necessity of change doesn’t require great wisdom, just simple recognition that as humans, we are not perfect and sometimes we find that we didn’t know as much as we felt we did.
When I started writing a year ago, Jason was my inspiration and outlet – I’m not kidding. I was trying to find the motivation to improve my particular situation and motivate him through early baseball struggles. Any phrase, quote, story, memory, etc., became the launching bad to attempt to inspire us and the simplicity of my early texts became more elaborate as my brain repaired itself over time.
I discovered that so much of what I was taught, witnessed, read, learned, etc, from whatever recent or remote source had come full circle to be shared with J and then others. From such simple exchanges with my son, I found greater joy in sharing with others genuine kindness, optimism, hope, gratitude, etc, through words, acts, expressions, and a basic love of simple things so that I could love more. I’m not saying everything I’ve learned was correct and what was correct has been applied perfectly. I’m just saying I learned to take them for more than what I previously thought and leaned to interpret them more positively as I moved only ahead.
So for my boys, I challenge you to read some of the things I wrote early on and see if they have more meaning, now that we are all older. Also read and listen more closely to words, phrases, songs, movie scenes, class lessons, or just about anything that triggers an internal response from you. Give them the credence that they warrant because if it generates a response, you might find information that can have greater meaning which could be applied that might change YOUR WORLD sooner rather than later. Just a suggestion from someone who knows better!