Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Bond

To my son Tommy,

I often read parenting articles on the web.  I read and ponder the often abstract and theoretical advice and though I believe many of these articles were written by non-parents, I still give them their due consideration.  Occasionally one strikes a chord.

Recently one article suggested that ninety percent of being a parent is the bond and ten percent is leading and teaching.  This article was singing the praises of horseplay and the bio chemical response and how you should set aside ten minutes a day to roughhouse with you kid.  The actual science of it was quite interesting but it was in the simple suggestion that parenting is mostly about the bond that got me thinking.

If I just set out a bunch of rules for you, if I just lead without developing and maintaining a close relationship with you, chances are we would both fail.  The time just spent together, the time spent cuddling or rough housing or talking, the time spent on love is the foundation that allows you to raise a good father and me to raise a good son.

There are examples of this throughout the world.  Unfortunately, the easiest way to see this is in failed relationships.  Find a divorcee and ask them why they got divorced.  You will find many who had a partner who was great on the books.  They had a job, they weren't a drunk or an addict, they were faithful, they were hard working, they didn't abuse, they didn't forget birthdays or holidays, and in fact they qualify as an all around decent guy but yet here they are divorced.  The divorcee will often point to being in the same room yet so far away.  They didn't have the foundation of love.  The consequences are obvious.

You can see examples of this throughout your life.  People base relationships on other things than love, be it their relationship with friends, or with family, or with their significant others, or with their children, or even the relationship with God.  They base it on the rules, or material gains, or hedonistic pleasure, or temporal feelings.  If they instead focused on the bond, growing and strengthening the love, it might not make the other ten percent any easier but it sure will make it worthwhile.  It will also make forgiveness much easier to give and to accept.  I promise you that everyday I will work on our bond.  The rest of it won't disappear, you will still have rules and expectations and we will work it out as we go, but with our focus on love and strengthening our relationship, life with you and your mom is truly something to look forward to.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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