My relative old age (of 40) has turned me into a bit of an introspective dad lately. While I'm not dwelling on anything in a particularly negative way, I am looking at things from a new perspective. Truth be told, that's really the whole point of these "Dear Son" letters - I'm realizing some lessons learned that I feel need to be passed along.
Today's thought is one of a father passing along some sort of legacy to his sons. If we're really on this earth for a purpose, it's to pass something along to our children that's greater than us. Every parent passes a legacy whether they know (or like) it or not. The legacy that we pass along is entirely up to us to decide. If we're good, productive and positive parents, we may be passing along a positive legacy to our children. If we're generally negative, grumpy, under-achieving parents then that's what our children often inherit as well.
Google's Definition of "Dad" is Wrong
We all use Google to look things up. Well, that's what I did one day when trying to figure out if "Dad" and "Father" meant the same thing.
Go ahead, try it yourself right now. "Okay, Google. What's the definition of dad?"
Google says dad and father are the same thing, but I respectfully disagree.
Here's what I think the real definition of "dad" is and why I think it's time for Google to make a distinction between a "father" and a "dad".
Read my definition and let me know what you think!
Our Time on This Earth is Finite, Our Legacy is Anything But
This notion of a father's legacy to his son is honestly really scary to me, not because I'm an underachiever, but because it's so finite.
When I'm gone, my legacy and the memories you have of me will be all that's left. When you think back about me, what will your thoughts be? Will they focus on the good times we had like our trip to Washington D.C. together that summer when you were six years old? Or will you remember me scolding you for misbehaving in public? Will you remember the good or the bad when I'm gone?
Hopefully there's more good than bad to remember...
This letter isn't about 'stuff' that I'm passing along, although I do hope that I'm able to pass along something of financial value.
[bctt tweet="Our time on this earth is finite, our legacy is anything but. #Fatherhood" username="dadtography"]
Rather, this letter is about the values, memories and morals that I pass along to you. I think I'm a good person and I strongly believe you'll end up being good people as well. A father's legacy to his sons is one that is shaped often before the father even realize it's being formed. I'm 40 now and I finally realize that the legacy I leave is up to me and me alone. I'm thinking about it more now, so maybe I'll try to do better at what I pass along. I'll be more aware of our time together, and our time apart. I'll be more conscious of how I treat you. I'll think more about your needs, as boys, for a strong, positive fatherly influence.
I hope all parents out there realize that they don't have an eternity on this earth. Your time is limited just like mine. What type of legacy are you leaving your children? How will they remember you? That legacy you leave will be all that remains of you after you're gone. I want my legacy to give my sons strength, compassion, motivation and comfort in the future.