This COVID19 Pandemic has affected the world in a great magnitude. Across seas and lands, humanity has lost a great deal of sanity. Let's face it - we have opposing views on how to deal with this pandemic. The news have been flooded with passive articles on warring sides of 'to mask" or "not to mask". We are all in political limbo having several governments fighting and dismissing Science and Facts, and all sort of conspiracy theories have panned out as a comical entertainment on all social and mainstream media platforms. It did not help that we are witnessing another important war against systemic racial injustice and fascism, which ultimately swept another relevant issue under the rug - global warming.
We are at a sad point where political correctness is more aligned to way too much entitlement, and the values of hard work, dedication and service has been maligned, exploited and/or corrupted.
In this tough times, where people continue fighting over varying views and opinions, political parties continue attacking one another because of partisanship, and Science vs. Fake News are simply becoming the new way of life, my main job as a family man is to make sure that I go home safe, sit down with the kids and have a sensible conversation of the things that are happening outside the confines of our home at the end of the day. The very same things that they will be actively involved with in their future.
There is Hope In Prayer. I look at my kids while we pray the rosary every single night. In their eyes are innocent prayers of HOPE - the very thing that most adults have given up on. Their silent prayers speak volumes of honesty and devotion - a prayer that they will live to endure the future ahead of them and, their faith in the spirituality of the Divine Being to protect them. What if adults do the same? What if instead of building armies of war, we build communities in prayer? What if we just all ignore our differences, cool our jets off and share the world in peace? If peace is ever so elusive, then it really is a wishful thinking.
Time = Memories. As the old saying goes, "We can never turn back time." Sure we can't. Every time I step out the door, my kids would always ask me where am I heading. Clearly, they know that I am going to work but they would always give me my most favorite doorway conversation, "I wish you would stay home and play with us!". This is the bittersweet reality of "adulting" versus "kidulting". Adulting is a millennial term defined in Oxford language by Dictionary.com as, the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary task. Renowned Author, Kelly Williams Brown has published a book on Adulting that captures the meaning of the word in its fun yet informative and relevant forms and I recommend people to read it.
And while Robert Locke's"Kidulting" suggests that it is a way to have more play in our lives, I personally define the word simply as "kids doing adults favor" by showing them the basics. Whenever my youngest, Raphael ambushes me at the door on my way to work and tells me, he wishes I could stay home with him and his brother so we could share time and do things. Those words become a pill that is hard to swallow. The importance of time and creating memories is what they simply wanted. To make real and genuine stories that they would for sure tell their friends, their teachers or even to the grumpy nana next door who walks her dog regularly around the 'hood. Memories that will be there in their minds for the rest of their lives.
Few years ago, I was working three different jobs, sun up, night time, sun down. My kids would yell at me when I walk into the house. James, our eldest has wittingly came up with this annoying yet eye-opening question, "Oh hey, pop! So are you just here to shower and go to work again?". He never missed asking me over and over. He was never tired reminding me that there is more to life than my career; and indeed, I was at the point of physically breaking down. It was evident. My other boss, who knew me, my wife and my kids outside of work one day called me into his office and said, "I want you to stay but I do not want to see years of your young life pass without building story blocks with your kids." Then he proceeded to say, "You are a good worker but I guess you could be a better husband and a father. Go home and make memories with your kids." I quit that job same day and made a promise to make every second count when I am with my kids. I have never missed any of their school and sports activities since. I was there during their first soccer goal, their first football touchdown, their first tennis tournament won, and even during their heartbreaking championship loss in basketball - well documented. I still do what a sensible adult does - work, but I have slowed my pace down. The door ambushed stopped and the annoying question quietly died down.
Laugh a lot. Two nights ago, my youngest and I could not go to sleep, so we decided to turn on the TV, put Plex on and watch Robert De Niro's latest family flick, War with Grandpa. It was midnight and the wife has gone to bed, but I enjoyed the rare moment my son and I laugh at something like two teenagers drunk for the first time laughing at a bet on who is going to take the first move to strike a conversation with the lady sitting at the other end of the bar. I have never seen my son laughed that hard in years, let alone with me, and the following morning he still incessantly talked about how good the movie was.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. I'd say, it is the only medicine. While the rest of the world is in chaos, we should never forget to find a reason to chuckle, because if the kids could find time to do so, so do adults. This article from New York Times by Richard Schiffman outlines a scientific explanation on how laughter could be an effective medicine. Go have a read. It is a good one.
Be grateful. We just celebrated Thanksgiving a week ago in Canada, and every time our family gathers, it reminds me that we are the basic unit of society where all our values started, our relationships were built, and our trust and love blossomed. I have said this before and I will say it again; when everything else fails, we could always go back to our family and go back to the basics. It is from being around our family that we started dreaming of Christmas morns, the gifts, the toys and all the goodness in life. It is also from being around our family that we have taken comfort mending our first heartaches and nasty heartbreaks. Family is the ultimate gift that gives back. No doubt! It's that one gift that does not need wrapping.
As we continuously navigate ourselves out of these tough times, let us all be reminded with the gift of innocence and childhood, where we dream of unicorns defeating the green-bloodes aliens, by farting rainbows and spurting bubble-gum-flavored cotton candy scents. Sure, it is a fantasy, but don't all kids... I mean, don't we all love to hear a story that ends with the old line, "happily ever after?"