Raising Children for ‘Offense’

It is eerily quiet at home. Half of the family is out west for a college-visit sweep of California.

I’m very happy for my older children, and I hope that they’re able to get a “feel” as to which colleges might be right for them. It’s a far cry from my own experience, when I applied to colleges sight-unseen from a “no name” high school with no track record with selective colleges.

I’m glad that my children have more opportunities than I do. In my family, as I was growing up, there was a premium placed on helping the next generation do better.

For my parents, there was a great deal of sacrifice for their children. My mother, for example, was a war refugee. She and her older siblings did not have three meals a day, every day. They all passed away young, probably from the long-term effects of stress and malnutrition.

And, it’s expected that I sacrifice for my children.

And, so on.

Eric, Ed, and I went out this week for our customary monthly meal out. We often joke that, if there is reincarnation, we want to come back as one of our children: bills are paid for, marriages are stable, and it’s all about “offense,” or seeking the next new opportunity.

IMO, many people grow up in conditions of “defense”: finding enough economic stability, avoiding the rampages of poverty, substance abuse, and cross-generational dysfunction.

I am mindful of the plight of others, and I’m grateful my children are in a stable home. I feel that I’ve done a more-than-decent job as a parent and economic provider. It’s a good feeling. I’m excited for them, so much so that I got up at 3 am.

It’s weird to think of children leaving home for college. They’re getting ready for take-off. The jets are loaded, fueled, and taxiing away from the gate.

When that day comes, when the jets take off, I’ll be both happy and miserable simultaneously. Feeling joy and longing at the same time.

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