So cousin Brett asks for some practical, creative suggestions that can inspire parents to inspire their children. And we have 5 children of our own and 4 long term foster children. All boys. And people are often saying nice things to us about the boys. And we get good reports back without looking for them. Often from people we don’t even know. So I’m thinking straight away, like the truly humble guy I am: “Yep, I’m the man for this job”.
And I know the kind of thing Brett is looking for, because he spells it out in an email. The kind of stuff that I’ve often planned to do, or thought it would be good to do…but actually, in practice have never got round to, or had very little success with. Like getting the boys to choose a charity to which the money which usually gets spent on them for christmas would go to. That was in my mind to do last year. But I ended up taking them all for a days go-karting. Which of course isn’t a bad thing, but not what my cuz is talking about in this instance.
But here’s my offering. It’s a very obvious one. It’s simply about maintaining a relationship with a child, so that suggestions made when they are young men or women aren’t rejected out of hand. Two years ago our second son Michael, who has very itchy feet, was planning to go travelling. So we said: “Hey, why not go and help at this place for street children in the Philippines, which the daughter of some friends of ours is running?” And that’s what he did for 3 months. He loved it. Now he’s in South America, building walls of horse dung on a community farm, visiting Ecuadorian prisoners, working in bars, doing border crossings from, ahem, Columbia to Peru. And, um, other stuff. We get skyped every 2 or 3 weeks, and Michael tries to scare his mum.
So, yeah. No prizes for originality to me. Or for following the brief. Though I’m looking forward to hearing other people’s input so I can be creatively inspired. It’s never too late. But, you know, I’m going with: talk, talk, jabber, jabber, laugh, giggle, get angry, apologise for your mistakes, don’t be a judgemental monster, get ’em to adulthood with at least a little bit of that free spirit they had when they were 4.
ps. And also make sure to follow through on your own dreams so that doing so will seem normal to them. Can’t expect them to try to change the world for the better if you’re not doing the same.
pps. In the changing the world stakes, and for the record, I think the funny vids Brett makes are just as important as all the other more obviously world changing stuff. Brad Fish is my guru! So I could probably do with some counselling really…
[David Fee is my mom’s brother’s son and lives in the United of.Kingdom. We like to refer to each other as ‘cousin’ cos that is what we are. One of his gifts is that of songwriter/singer and if you sign up for his mailing list you can receive his music for free over here]