November 10, 2010
“Someone or something that is walking the green mile is heading towards the inevitable.”
It is 5:00 a.m. as I check my overnight email. A message pops in – it becomes an important one! I signed up for some Linked In groups that distribute messages engaging members in dialogue, sharing job postings, or updating whatever the group is focused on. One group, however, is actually an individual name Sven – he sends out quotes and photos every week that cause the reader to pause and reflect. It has become one of my favorite emails. This week he shared a Chinese Proverb, “If you want to know your past – look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future – look into your present actions.”
That evening, I returned home to find my daughter reading the same book I was reading. The Council of Dads, by Bruce Feiler which was sent to me as part of the TED Book Club. A confluence of social media, children growing up, and parenting came together. I questioned Paige about the Council of Dads and found she was really reading and comprehending the book….probably more so than I.
The Council of Dads chronicles the authors’ bout and treatment of a rare osteosarcoma (bone cancer). This father of two daughters is faced with the distinct probability that he will not be alive to raise his children and calls upon six friends to teach his daughters a handful of key lessons in life that he will be unable to teach. The six lessons include:
- Approach the cow – teach them how to travel and dive into the experience
- Pack your flip-flops – Personal integrity
- Don’t see the wall – Let’s sit down and figure out what’s possible. Let’s make a map to the top of the mountain.
- Tend to your tadpoles – Accept diversity and remember where you came from..Navigate the canal, tend to the tadpoles, you never know when you might need a pal.
- Live the questions – people who live with questions are “discoverers.”
- Harvest miracles – How easy it is to see beauty.
What if you were faced with this situation? What lessons would you want taught to your children? Who is teaching those lessons now? Have we become too busy to even recall the friends in our lives? I referenced Mark Twain two posts back. Once again his words resonate with us today: “Every man seems to feel he has got the duties of two lifetimes to accomplish in one, and so he rushes, rushes, rushes, and never has time to be companionable – never has any time at his disposal to fool away on matters which do not involve dollars and duty and business.”
This is the bridge that our kids will have to take for themselves one day, but we can help them across the first half. Shel Silverstein would characterize this as, “This bridge will only take you half way there, the last few steps you’ll have to take alone.”
And every once in a while, I hope you take a walk for someone who can’t.