I want many things for my children. But at the top of the list — after doing this dad thing for many years — is a sense of gratitude.
And by “gratitude” I mean more than saying “thank you.”
I’m talking about experiencing a feeling deep inside one’s soul. “Feeling” being the operative word in that last sentence.
Am I raising children who feel?
I’ve wanted many things for my children over the course of their life. But here’s what I’ve come to learn has lasting value:
1. I want them to be people who look out over the Grand Canyon, the prairies of Kansas, or the white caps off of the coast of Maine and feel the deepness of awe. True awe.
2. I want them to be lost in time, someday, as they hold their own children in their arms, and realize the miraculous feel of a baby’s fingerprints.
3. I want them to see into the eyes of someone unexpected. A store clerk. A cab driver. A barber. And I want them to feel the true sense of connection with another human being.
4. I want them to have the regular need to pause and watch the fantastically amazing world of something that catches their eye. A bird. A droplet of water on the window. A spider’s web. An airplane.
5. I want them to hear a song and feel as though the words were written for them. And them alone.
6. I want them to feel the warmth of comfort as they savor the taste of a meal prepared from the hands and heart of a loving cook.
7. I want them to feel alive. The energetic richness of alive where every muscle, every flinch, every pulse in their body becomes a gift. Even in their darkest moments.
8. I want them to feel validated. A validation that gives them an absolute conviction that every day has purpose. That every minute they are given can be a minute of good. And I want them to feel the joy in validating others.
9. I want them to feel purposeful.
10. I want them to feel responsible. Accountable. I want them to feel as though they are a mirror for others.
11. I want them to feel the love of their dad. No matter where they are in the journey of life.
12. And yep, while I’d like them occasionally to feel the need to clean their room, help with yard work, and maintain peace with their siblings, I want them to truly know the sense of awe and gratitude.
For the life they have the privilege of living.