Learning Lessons from my Son

Feb 22nd, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Post 70, I still thought I was the teacher, the one with all or most of the answers.  I thought that I had cataloged life’s experiences in such a way that I could call them up for all kinds of illustrations of what to do and not to do in life’s struggles.  Wrong!  Seventy is a mile post, not a goal post.  So will the other significant points of aging be.  Had we the ability to “know it all” life could get both boring and stuffy.  Life is not a weekly magazine, it is an encyclopedia forever being edited and updated. 

So, this leads me to recognize that my son is no longer my student, but I am his.  There are several volumes of recently published encyclopedias (that word is almost outdated) that contain information and new worlds that I know nothing about. 

Somewhere, just because I thought I was well read, much of my searchings and inquiry about what had happened in the last couple of decades fell off the shelf.  Insights still come to me, but they are not informed by a lot of the existential motivations that have cropped up in more recent years. 

My son is helping me to understand that. I confess that I am so far behind, that it is discouraging to ever think of catching up.  but press on, anyone must.  Otherwise we are doomed to an incomplete existence, caught in the trap of what we have decided is “truth.”  He is pushing me to try on a new curiosity which will help me look beyond the limits of the  boundaries within which I have been living. He wants me to think about what has happened politically and socially, psychologically and religiously over the years that I slid through while trying to be a mentor to others. 

The fact of the matter is no one ever finishes the course.  Life is still preparing examinations for us.  We are ever in the role of student preparing for the next set of issues and dynamics to come along and we need to be ready for them.  My son is teaching me that. 

He is teaching me that paternal roles are not static.  He wants to be sure that our relationship is predicated on love and respect and deep appreciation for one another, but more as equals than as father/son.  He wants to gain the respect and honor that comes with fleshing out his life experiences so that he can also be teacher and student.

My son is the one person in the world for whom my feelings run so deep that it is a struggle sometime to separate the emotional issues from the more important filial and agape experiences  that need to under-gird our relationship.  He is my son.  I am his father.   But, more than that, he is a human being who is all about figuring out the world, his place in it, its overwhelming set of conditions and changes that draw us all in and demands that we start living in it without excuses or poorly constructed rationales.

He believes that questioning is the core need of us all.  He believes that pressing against those with differing perspectives is the essence of maturity.  He believes that and invites his father, family and friends to join him in this quest.  It is a quest requiring patience, grace, love and commitment.  Like him, I invite you to join us on the journey.

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