Father’s Day

While it’s supposed to be my day, when my children express appreciation for my role as father, I feel more comfortable expressing my own gratitude for them and the gifts they give me every day.

Andrea, now entering her senior year, has developed into such a kind and compassionate human being. She’s bright and works hard, yet infuses what she does and those around her with enthusiasm and joy. A young woman, she is stepping across the threshold of adulthood, leaving her childhood to the photos.

Grant is completing 8th grade and middle school. This has been a tough year for him, as he seems to be struggling with his identity and values, particularly questioning school and authority. The result: lower grades and calls from teachers about his behavior.

It’s disappointing, as the one value I would impart to him above all others is respect for others. And his dropping grades don’t reflect his aptitude. Yet I recall that Andrea faced similar challenges during her 8th grade year, so I’m hopeful this is a normal developmental stage, a transition en route to adulthood.

Despite my disappointment and frustration, I nonetheless feel grateful for Grant’s presence. He’s kind, sensitive, bright and full of ideas and dreams. I wonder where he will take them.

The words from Khalil Gibran’s On Children reflect a theme of my parenting philosophy:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

Thanks, Andrea and Grant, for the privilege of being your father and sharing your journey.

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London boundFrom time to time, you bump into someone totally unexpectedly, in a most unlikely place. You would swear it couldn’t happen — except that it does, often enough that the surprise, ironically, isn’t really a surprise.

Tuesday evening I flew from Boston to London, the first leg of a quick trip to Sweden. Coincidentally, my former minister was on the same flight, off to see her son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids in Vienna. Earlier in the day I had seen her Facebook posting, noting that she was packing for the trip, and thought “Wouldn’t it be a coincidence if we were on the same plane.”

I last saw Laurel at her wedding last September. That was a joyous event, yet not conducive to conversation. The last time we had the opportunity to catch up with one another was by phone a year or two before the wedding, and it was a few years before that when we actually saw each other in person.

So the few minutes we had in Boston before boarding and the few minutes walking the long halls at Heathrow, then clearing security, were a gift, time enough to share the important themes in our lives. The conversation seemed to pick up right where we left off, seemingly just last week.

As we separated in the transit hall, she bound for Vienna, me for Goteborg, I marveled at the blessed coincidence. The threads of our lives seem to weave a rich tapestry that transcends time and distance. Thankfully.

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