Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Boyne City, October 2023 III:

Blonde Boy

Boyne City, Michigan, USA

October 17, 2023

"The Child is father of the Man." ... William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up (The Rainbow)

This essay, Boyne City, October 2023 III: Blonde Boy, is the companion piece to Girly Girl.

It is also the tenth in an open group about my son Joshua:
  1. Joshua Is Doing Nothing
  2. Two Human Beings One Heart
  3. You Can't Hold On To A Wriggling Puppy
  4. Joshua Nelson Mongezi  Platt
  5. Source Of Action
  6. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line
  7. Return To The Creek
  8. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II
  9. Special Angel, Human Being
  10. Boyne City, October 2023 III: Blonde Boy
in that order.

It is also the third in a trilogy written in Boyne City, October 2023: It is also the sequel to Empty Nest, Full Sky, and the prequel to Empty Nest, The Joy Of.

I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt, who inspired this conversation.

Photography by Joshua Nelson Platt

Boyne City, Michigan, USA

6:59:28pm EDT Saturday October 7, 2023
with Joshua
When he was a young child, his hair was bright blonde. I called him "My Blonde Boy". And he (not surprisingly) called me "Dad". "Hi Blonde Boy!". "Hi Dad!". "Hi Dad!". "Hi Blonde Boy!". And then one day, out of the blue, he greeted me with "Hi Blonde Boy!" to which I (not missing a beat) responded "Hi Dad!". It stuck. Now and then, he still calls me "Blonde Boy", and I call him "Dad". It's our thing.

Parenting can be epitomized by one rite de passage  all moms and dads know well: teaching their child to ride a bicycle / bike (which when I grew up we called a two-wheeler, distinct from a tricycle / trike). You sit them down on it, hold on to the saddle, tell them to start pedaling, then run along behind them as they pedal faster and faster, gathering speed. And then ... that instant when you let go, and they're on their own, and their magic moment of discovering balance  is upon them. Will they fall? Will they make it?  They remain upright! The joy, the cheering "Yaaayyy!!!" as a line of becoming independent and learning to live their life, is crossed. It's a line over which you and your child will never go back.

And now here he is, living in his own neat, orderly apartment, gainfully employed, loved and admired by co-workers, friends and family alike, a brilliant chef and seasoned traveler and explorer just a tad shy of his thirtieth birthday, entertaining me / taking care  of me (the child is father to the man now, as William Wordsworth may have said), driving me around in the camper van he built for himself by himself, sharing with me his fabulous life and environs. I've let go of the bike. My concerns, doubts, and trepidations are dispelled. Now there's no doubt whatsoever: he's discovered balance for himself.

When he was ten years old, he graduated from the Landmark Forum for Young People and Teens. Although he hasn't (yet) gone on to participate in other programs, it doesn't matter. The genie's out of the bottle. I speak with him in ways I would speak with any adult graduate. It's resulted in a certain quality in our relationship. The conversations we have, work. They're open, bone-numbingly  honest and authentic. It's the most satisfying joy of being a parent listening your child literally inventing their own future in front of you. And his future just gets brighter and brighter. It's all happening. He's walking the talk.

These days his hair is no longer bright blonde. It changed. He went to bed one night blonde, and woke up the next day, hair dark brown. Well, not exactly overnight, yet in hindsight it seems that way. His hair color change marked his sweet baby child years morphing into his mature independent adult years, from being dependent to being a provider, from being my baby boy to being my equal. That said, he'll always be my Dad, and I'll always be his Blonde Boy.

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