Last night as I discussed my adult children's plans for today and tomorrow I kept repeating that they had no plan. While my patient wife Ginger agreed with me, she also asked me if I remembered when we were running around my parent's house with them asking us "What's the plan?" To which of course we had no answer. We had the overarching plan, but none of the details to fill it in. Nothing that showed how we would make it happen. Sort of exactly similar to what my kids seem to have now. A good plan short on details.
It isn't easy. As a parent we would rather take the pain, the inconvenience, the tribulations leaving them the undamaged joys of life. But that doesn't always happen. By 'doesn't' I mean 'can't' and by 'always' I mean 'ever.' It's so easy for us to see exactly what our children need to do yet so hard for us to tell them. We denied that we were like our parents until we grew old enough to realize we were exactly like them. We see our kids are exactly like us yet watch them deny it.
Personally I was amazed at both how smart my folks were and how quickly they went from complete idiot to genius as I progressed from the ages of 17 to 25. It appears that right now I am smack dab in the middle of that range for my oldest but it isn't satisfying to merely sit back and relish in the amount of wisdom I gain daily without any effort.
My Dad has recommended lots of books to me. A good number I've read, especially The Rising Tide by John Barry. This book tied together so many of my loves from my childhood and life now that it was incredible. In reading it he learned some of the things I knew (namely engineering, the Corps of Engineers, 19th century technology) that sent me down the path I'm on and I learned more about fascinating subjects he knew better including how Huey P. Long and Herbert Hoover rose to prominence and power, how New Orleans lost its place of authoritative control in Louisiana and the US, and a more thorough understanding of how deeply-seated the distrust and hatred of the Corps of Engineers is in the lower Mississippi River.
But this is merely the latest in a long list of recommendations. A much shorter list is the one that I've sent back to him. Last week he came over after we had recovered from our enjoyable flight and among other things he mentioned a phone call he had received for me. This call was about The Third Door. I was able to get into the group of advanced readers for the book. For those in the know, I took the Third Door into The Third Door. Since I was overseas it made it hard to get a physical copy of the book, however, that issued worked itself out and I was able to read it in advance of its publishing.
Phenomenal read. I couldn't put it down from start to finish. Oh, I stopped at times to admire the writing and its impactful words, but I never put it down. When I wrote my reviews I hoped that it might inspire others to read it, but little did I know it actually worked. My Dad in a very matter of factly manner told me that he said it all sounded interesting. He knew what kind of books he recommended to me that i liked and as a result, he figured he might like this one. He got a copy and it is on his reading list.
When we're young we strive to be grown and accepted. We yearn for positions, not necessarily of power, but of influence. To be taken as serious, persuasive, intelligent, perhaps even experts at something. But it doesn't arrive in a bang or with fanfare. The next step on the road of life is merely another step. It is just one more piece of traveled ground. Ground that everyone has to travel on their own whether it takes you further away or closer to home. Becoming a true grownup, or just no longer being a child, never gets easier or faster and no matter how hard we try we will never be able to make the parallel lines cross. We can however marvel in their similarities.