The Most Important Thing To Me
This is my everything. I don’t believe in any gods; I don’t believe in morals or justice or souls or heaven or superstition; I don’t believe in nobility or democracy or the value of manmade laws. But I believe in them. Everything I do, I do for them. Every pushup. Every joke to a customer at work. Every friend I try to make even if only to keep my sanity. Every rally. Even when I brush my teeth in the morning. I want to do great things. I might fail, but I’d rather my kids see me crash and burn aiming for the moon, rather than make it to the fence, knowing their father was a man who chased his dreams and didn’t live his life as a coward or a slave to the common way or common fear. I want my kids to be proud of me, from the deepest pits of their natural humanity, to know their father was a man who woke up every morning in this crazy world and took it on with the strength of love. This is my everything, my kids.
How could my kids hold me up with the truest pride if they saw me walk callously past a homeless family on the street? If they saw me cruelly unconcerned with the thousands of other children who starve to death every day? If I showed no huge sympathy for the millions of Americans suffering so terribly in prison mostly for consensual crimes like marijuana or prostitution? If they saw hate for some in their father’s eyes or actions rather than love for all?
Even at 4 years old and under, my kids don’t want to see people crying. They don’t want to see people hurt each other, and so needlessly at that. They don’t want to see people suffer. They don’t need to be taught that. You don’t learn compassion by growing up. My little kids have big hearts.
There’s so much darkness in this world. We’re born with such love and compassion and life, but are battered into jealousy and anger, hate and loneliness, fear and desperation, deception and cutthroat plotting. Children’s attachment to their parent is the most fundamental way they learn, to become the person they will be. Abused children spend their lifetime confused, born with this natural goodness and kindness that contradicts with their natural admiration for their mean parent. We rightfully identify the few worst, the child molesters and whatnot, but fail to see how all the darkness in the world comes from this same pattern, passed from parent to child, caretaker to young heart. If I taught my children hate for even one man or to disregard the pain of any person, when my children can’t help but admire me as a role model and try to synthesize that with their huge hearts bursting with love and compassion, what terrible life sentence I’d be giving them! I’m not perfect, but I want to be their light.
And hey I probably won’t save the world, but if I do right by my kids well enough–if I’m the inspiration I want to be–maybe they will.
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About Scott Hughes
I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!