Sleeping is not a problem for me when it comes to travel. Whenever I am a passenger I fall asleep. Car, train, or airplane will rock me to sleep almost immediately.
On the way to Indianapolis for the Roche Social Media Summit I had a stop in Phoenix Arizona to change planes for my final flight into Indiana. Being as oblivious as I am I did not realize that two very cool DOC members were going to be joining me for the flight in.
Mike sat right behind me and Wendy sat across the aisle and we chatted for most of the trip much to the chagrin of the guy behind Wendy who was trying to read. Sorry dude.
During the flight Wendy and I were talking about our kids, a topic both of us like to discuss. She mentioned that her youngest is starting Kindergarten this year and we talked about how quickly time flies.
I told Wendy that I cannot believe my oldest is 18 and my baby is starting High School. My son and I had a heart to heart recently (like we do often actually) and I told him that even though he is 18 and legally an adult, that my job as a parent was not over. There are still so many life experiences that he is unfamiliar with and I am prepared to help guide him through.
My kids have heard me say this before but I believe my job as a dad is to raise my children to be contributing, functioning members of society with integrity and kindness. If being strict means they will hate me then so be it. I am willing to jeopardize the way I am viewed in their eyes right now to make sure they have the foundation they need to be successful in life, knowing that in the future they will understand it all.
Thankfully my kids have been receptive to all my crazy lessons and our relationship is nothing short of a miracle. I could not ask for more.
Wendy asked me, “how old were you when you lost your dad?”
“18. It was just after my first anniversary of being diagnosed.”
Then she brought up something I have never thought of. The possible reason I am so focused on constantly teaching my kids life lessons is because subconsciously I am not sure how much time I have left.
Wow, that kind of blew me away.
Not that other parents are not thinking about teaching their kids all the time. I am not saying that. What I mean is taking every moment to teach with the thought that this may be the last thing you will ever say to them.
I sat there lost in my thoughts. Flashes of my kids little faces looking at me while I taught them things about the world. Was I going overboard with all the deep conversations forcing my kids to look at things from every angle and seeing both sides of every argument? Was it too much? Did I take away from those experiences for them by turning them into life lessons?
The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I am proud and happy to report that my kids are pretty great. Perfect? No. Great? Yeah, I would say they are. So maybe our strategy is working.
I have always vowed that before I lecture my kids I would remember what it was like to be their age first. That practice, I believe, has helped me get through to them as opposed to just becoming white noise. As parents we can only hope we have done the right thing.
Wendy said that she thought my dad’s death was one of the most defining moments in my life and I could not agree more. It still affects me and that was over 20 years ago.
The real reason for this post is to show you how much can be learned and understood from community. Even online with only blogs, some Facebook statuses, and tweets did Wendy see all this about me and my life. She noticed something about me that I never saw and that feels good.
Sharing our story matters. It matters because the person reading could be helped, inspired, or even be there to help you! A total turn around but in the most awesome way possible! The DOC community may be growing in numbers but the closeness of the group seems to be the same.
We learn a lot about each other in all this sharing and it makes for a beautiful community. I feel blessed to be a part of it.
Disclosure: Roche paid for my travel, hotel and meal expenses for my trip to Indy. They have not however, required any blog posts from any of us. Feedback provided by me is completely my own opinion.