contrasted that story with a passage in Sinclair Lewis's
novel Babbitt. In Lewis's story, a young man decides not
to go to college. He wants to get married and get a
factory job because he likes working with his hands.
His family is giving him a hard time about his decision,
but his father takes him aside and tells him he has never
done anything he wanted to do in his life. Now, even
though the father isn't happy with the son's choices, he
tells him that he admires his decision to live his life
the way he wants to live it. Then he puts his arm
around his son and they go back into the room to face the
family. I gave a copy of that passage to every one
of our five children.
more children you have, the harder it is to direct
everyone's actions. With five children, you are too
busy to tell everyone what to do and it is easier just to
watch them grow and blossom.
oldest son once asked why I treated the younger children
differently than I'd treated them at their age:
"How come they don't have to do what I had to
I've learned that a lot of the things I asked you to do
aren't important." Then I apologized for my
inexperience as a father. He accepted my apology
because my newfound wisdom made his life easier, too.
I am amazed at the things our children have done and their
wide range of interests. They are all living their
lives and not the ones I would have planned for
them. But I have learned their lives are theirs, not
mine, and in living their own lives they have given me
experiences and an education I would never have had if I'd
been fool enough to make them do what I thought they
are you devoted to? Think about someone in your
family whom you love. How do you behave towards this
person? Think about your actions over the past few
days. Are you trying to change her and improve
her? Or are you watching her grow and enjoying her
and trying to make her life easier?
Prescriptions for Living.
A nice look at life from a formerly anal-retentive
doctor who shaved his head, changed his name from "Dr. Siegel" to Bernie,
and actually started caring for his patients. He learned more from the change
than they did.