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

Father's Day

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

Father's Day, Sunday June 21, 2015

I am indebted to my children Alexandra Lindsey Platt and Christian Laurence Platt and Joshua Nelson Platt and to my father Dr Asher Manfred Platt and to all fathers everywhere who inspired this conversation, and to my son Christian Laurence Platt who contributed material.

... twenty two years earlier: 1993 ... - Napa Valley, California, USA
Joshua (Father And Child)
What's Father's Day for my children is really Children's Day for me.

Our entire relationship and everything it heralds, is transformed. And yes, I really do mean "transformed" not "changed". It's not a trivial distinction. They're adults now. They're no longer children - even though in a very real sense they'll always never not  be my children. Now that they've each passed their twenty first birthday, they're responsible for their own lives, for their own choices, for their own futures - legally, morally, ethically, completely. The relationship they have with me today is that which they create freely and newly ongoingly. It's a new era, an era in which I'm no longer by default the great yet benevolent dictator in the relationship.

For the most part (with a couple of noteworthy "I shoulda known better"s) I've done the best I possibly could, getting them to this point, the point when they must leave the nest for good. Getting them out of the nest wasn't a task I particularly relished (does any  parent really relish this task when the time to do it comes - as it inexorably, inevitably will?). Yet I knew (as any parent knows) if they're going to master the wonders (indeed the glories)  of flight, it's required  they get out of the nest and spread their wings.

What's awaiting them when they get out of the nest and spread their wings is success, accomplishment, reward, thrilling adult love, and their own families, and all the many great things life on our planet has to offer - which is to say all the opportunities they'll create for themselves in their lives. That's what I want for them. That's what I'm rooting for. Yet as challenging as all that is, all that's actually the easy stuff. It's likely they'll get some or most of it just by being here, just by being alive, just by being who they are. They're great kids. They're good people. And I want to be there to participate in all their celebrations of all their successes.

What also awaits them, for better or for worse, are their own trials, their own struggles, their own figuring it all out (or, if they're smart, their own not  figuring it all out). They will learn. Man!  they will learn ... and I'll be here for them as often as they want me here. If I'm going to be any good as a father, the crucial task is yet ahead: it will be to stay out of their way  as they go through whatever they'll go through in whatever way they'll go through it as they take on and master their own lives. This is what the measurement of whether I got my job done or not, will be: how prepared they are to stand for themselves and for their lives and for Life itself.

It's been said (a tad mischievously) "A father's a guy who has a photograph where his wallet used to be.". That, at least in a very real sense, is true for me - and it's maybe true for all fathers. But listen: being a father is a big, noble deal, an award-worthy accomplishment if you will (and I say that without any sense of expectation: if there's any award for being a father, it's the one you give yourself). However, to impart true dignity to the mischief, I prefer saying "A father's a guy with a huge heart and a profound sense of pride and of the miracle of life and of the privilege being alive is, where his boyish innocence and naïvete and jerkishness used to be.".

So Happy Father's Day to you! And if you're not a father, then Happy Father's Day to your father and to all fathers everywhere.

And especially and particularly to my own dear father Asher Manfred: Thanks Daddy! You got your job done.

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