Thursday, August 1, 2013

Double Standard

To my son Tommy,

I wonder, as you sit there bogarting your iPad on a rainy day at the beach, if you will resent what seems to be an obvious double standard in my fathering.  This injustice comes with sharing items.  If you are playing with one of your cousin's toys and they want it back, I make you give it back no questions asked.  It doesn't matter who had it first or why the other wants it back, you are directed to return the item.  This would be fine if, when your cousins played with your toys and you wanted them back, I enforced the same standard.  But in what must be a confusing mixed signal, I make you share, no questions asked.

What I hope happens is some day you will realize it isn't about the objects, nor about the "justice" of a situation.  No, those avenues lead down bad paths.  Too often the only reason we want an item back is because someone else seems to be having too much fun with our things, more fun than we ever did.  It can be petty.  What is more important is the love and generosity of your spirit to your family and friends.  If this means you have to sacrifice playing with a toy to make one of your cousins happy, then so be it.  This is the avenue, when translated into more adult things, that will lead you to true joy.  You won't value material items and you won't head down the trick of false justice which is defined when you compare what you have with others and get upset when someone else has more or has it easier.  You will end up valuing love, service, generosity, compassion, and other truly admirable qualities.  This is, of course, if you don't end up resenting me because it may seem as if you never win.  But really, both you and the world will win in the long run because another person might end up redefining what winning in life means.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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