Saturday, October 2, 2010

Raison d'etre…

Raison d'etre…
 
· Reason for being 
· The purpose that justifies a thing's existence
 


I don’t manifest some perverse orientation or fixation on my child. What I do attempt with LFG is grounded in two strategic themes


Don’t misunderstand me. We love short term tactics around here…Trips to Five Guys for burgers. Weekends at Rehoboth beach. A five dollar budget for the toy store on Connecticut AvenueChilds Play. Tactics are good. Tactics are fun. It's the longer view of the journey however-the more strategic view of the voyage with these little ones that to me, is more important. 


Now back to the two Strategic Themes: 


One: My guiding vision for LFG involves shepherding her through this journey so that she becomes a content and self sufficient adult. Anything beyond this is gravy. Notice that I use the word content-not “happy”. “Happy” has been debased in our society. It's a myth. If you are content, you'll discover your own definition of happiness.

 
Two: I want to behave as a man in a way that has LFG say as an adult woman… “My father was always there for me”. 


Some say...."but wait a minute ADG, she is going to grow up and leave you and then how will you be?" I will be fine and I fully expect LFG to embark on her own journey. I do though, have a few more years of tactical frolic denial before I have to fully process this aspect of parenting....right? 


Perhaps I’ve set my sights too low…my goals too modest. Until convinced otherwise, I’ll be happy if I make good on those two. Here’s my raison d’etre… 

What’s yours? 


25 comments:

James said...

Nope,no argument here. You are right on course,don't change a thing. The greatest compliment from a child has to be"I know I can count on you. Dad"

Pigtown-Design said...

To find extraordinary things in an ordinary life. I always try and look for the best - in family and friends, events, people, occasions.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Getting drunk.

Anonymous said...

Funny. I am watching a replay of the pilot of this season's Dexter and he is speaking of content v. happiness. Without getting into Kierkegaard and others, I think that you have nailed your blog subject with your usual exiguous wordliness. (not a word) I have been struggling with contentment, but you have helped immensely.

Beautiful post and personally timely.

When I have had some sleep I may post another comment with some more thoughtful soul and passion.

SFBayArea

Giuseppe said...

...a littleboy and a little girl who live in my house...

NCJack said...

Never had any kids, but I always tried to remember what it was like, in case I did, and the most comforting feeling I can recall is knowing that if I did my part right, my Dad had my back. I think you're doin' real good.

M.Lane said...

It is the only "raison" there is once you cross the rubicon to parenthood. And the best one.

Great post. I need to work on my "tactical frolic denial" a bit. Any tips? Perhaps going back to an old James Taylor lyric..."the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time...".

Really a great post.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Reggie Darling said...

Belgian shoes? No, just kidding! My raison would be my relationship with my wonderful spouse, as no children run pit-a-pat through the halls of Darlington House, other than the welcome offspring of guests.

Moving post, Maxi, as per usual when you wax on such subjects.

BTW, would you be referring to Sullivan's toy shop on Connecticut Avenue? I spent many an allowance there as a laddie.

Hilton said...

Kalokagatia- Truth, beauty and goodness.

ADG said...

Hilton....where the hell have you been? Kalokagatia...that's sublime. I've of course studied the commands of "truth" in the Bible and the Buddhists do a stunning job of articulating truth and ethical deportment. Alas, I'm constantly reminded of how fallible I am but it doesn't keep me from seeking. Thanks.

Reggie....all good things to be thankful for including the Belgies. Sullivans...ahh...LFG and I walk to Sullivans sometimes before/after Cactuc Cantina at Wisc/Macomb...your old hood. Sullivans is hanging on by a thread. I go there with LFG and I see the old display cabinets that were there when you were a kid...Britains Toy soldiers etc. and I ponder how it was, but then again I'm maudlin and full of sentiment 'cause I just watched an episode of Mad Men....Season Two! Child's Play is on Connecticut and is a great little store.

M. Lane....my tips....spoons, magic markers, glue sticks, paper, dried beans, rubber bands, The Spinners, Stylistics, Stoli.

NCJack....see...kids or not, your Dad planted good seeds. Just look what you growed into.

Giuseppe...I've seen you in action with your kids my man...your legacy as a father already is in place. Sublime.

SFBay...Thanks. Happiness is a product. And we'll never be able to buy the right size, quantity or colours and as soon as we think we have--they change the criteria. Peace (not world peace, see happiness above) but peace within and contentment is about the best endgame we can hope for. And Belgians and Stoli and books and heirloom tomatoes and as LPC says it, "baby flesh" and kindness and ....shit, it's only 10:58 EST and I'm already getting sentimental. Usually happens in tandem with the clink of ice cubes in the afternoon. "Ice Cubes in the Afternoon"...Hemingway, Barnaby Conrad, Jack London title maybe? Or just another episode of The Secret Storm.

Laguna Beach Fogey...You are a lying m.f.er and you know it. I spent an hour visiting the links of goods/services purveryors listed on your site the other day. so I know that it's "getting drunk and procuring tasty goods."

MegTown...you are the Simple Abundance Queen. I hope your mom is ok.

James...thanks. You ain't gonna believe what happened at soccer yesterday. As a former coach, maybe you can give me some advice and perspective.

Anonymous said...

To foster contentment is probably the best thing you can do as a father. I think one of the greatest problems in this country is that no one is content, everyone always wants more and the grass is always greener. A content person is a happy person. As for the growing older, my eldest is now a senior and not only is she growing up, but she is thinking of joining the Navy. This isn't university across the counry, this is across the world! My eyes well up just thinking of it, but at the same time my heart almost bursts when I think of what a wonderful young woman she has become.

Suburban Princess said...

It's amazing people take over our lives and our hearts. I have discovered in my old age that content is much better than anything else. Happy is too precarious. Now to just figure out how to be content with being content ;o)

My husband and my son are everything. When I feel 'off' it's because they aren't with me. When I have a bad day I am anxious to get my son from school and circle the wagons. To be perfectly honest, everything I do is for them. Even my blog is always writen with them in mind.

There was a time when the most important person in my life was me! I think I have Stockholm syndrome!

Reggie Darling said...

Sheesh, even though I lived in that town for nigh on 20 years, I still get Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues mixed up. Sullivan's is on Wisconsin, I now recall. Must be my dyslexia, or maybe it was the two gin and tonics I had for breakfast this morning . . .

Mrs. Blandings said...

To give them better than I had. And I'm not talking stuff.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your blogs for their reverential irreverence but love the depth revealed by your thoughts regarding your father and your daughter. As a pragmatic hedonist, I love your balance of thoughtfulness and having fun.

yoga teacher said...

What a great post to come home to. My daughter, of course. She's in 9th grade now. I noticed that you gave more words to contentment than self-sufficiency, and the latter is a big issue in high school! It's proving to be quite a balancing act, since self-sufficiency is achieved through trial and error. So painful to watch them fall. How wide do we set the paramaters so the falls aren't lethal? Baby steps for all. We crashed my wasband's business trip this weekend, and it took both of us girls to convince him to let our daughter stay in the room alone while we ate out. She loved that, but you bet I will remind her of our largesse in this next time I say "no." (Sorry, I usually try for "exiguous wordliness" but, well, this is my life.)

ADG said...

Yoga Teacher...I'll be running back to all of you at warp speed for advice and strength when LFG gets to the teen years. I'm scared already.

Anonymous...reverential irreverence and pragmatic hedonism...damn...you got me! Thanks.

Mrs. Blandings...I know, at least I think I do, what you are talking about.

Reggie...three G&T's and you woulda been spot on.

Suburban...that version of Stockholm Syndrome is a sublime one.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the secret is to raising a happy child, but I think a major part of it is to spend a lot of time with it doing, as you suggest, more or less inconsequential things.

We forget that we loom huge in their consciousness, that we are very powerful creatures to them for we control their destiny as far as they can see. Taking time to simply be with them, enjoy their company, play and occasionally discipline them, I think makes them feel secure and loved. They will progress through life without too much of a hitch.

Seems to work for me and my kid.

Preppy 101 said...

Same - only I have 2: 31 year-old son; 26 year-old daughter. xoxo

SouthernProletariat said...

ADG..again here with two girls. My goals for them? To raise them to love God and love thier fellow man...(and occasionally want to come home to visit!) I feel like contentment, joy and purpose (at least for myself) flow out of those two over arching goals.

Although, I do believe that Ms. Blandings is spot on...

Flo said...

I am taken by how your daughter became so engrossed in her double elephant folio, she lost all concept of time, she stayed in her jommies all day and enjoyed being at one with starting and finishing her project. In an oblique way, she is mirroring what you do with this journal of yours, ie using your resources and your mind to create a piece of work. To me, the simple act of creating and finishing a project is one of the best paths to Contentment. Look how you've passed this on to her already, good going.

ilovelimegreen said...

I wouldn't say mine is so much a raison d'etre as it is a guiding tenet in my life, but I try not to take life to seriously and to make everyday fun. And as opionionated and outspoken as I am, respecting the opinions of others...even if they find ADG's "Shut ups" tiresome.

LPC said...

My reason for living, really, is just that I was given life. And then once you're given life, if you don't have to use every iota of your energy just staying alive, then you have the capacity to love. And once you have the capacity to love, well then. Children are the occasion. I hope you feel this joy all your life, and the little girlie too.

In The Littoral said...

My daughters are my reason to live!

I just spent the weekend in Burlington, Vermont with my youngest (19) for UVM's Parents' Weekend. All we did was buy the few things she needed for her room and then just hung out together. And hanging out was the best part!

On Sunday before I left we went out to brunch and then sat on a bench with my arm around her on Church Street and listened to a street musician and talked about nothing. It was very reaffirming, since my divorce will be final next week, I sometimes feel insecure in our relationship. (Mothers and daughters and their bonds are strong as I know you are aware.) But I felt renewed, and a bit exhausted from the 1,500 drive, and my sense of purpose was strengthened. Thanks for the post, it was spot on!

Dave

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

No quibble with your plan here. Our young'uns, at 20 and 24 are still good for family fun and frolic now and then...it just gets more expensive. Sometimes we stay home and just foot the bill for their frolic. I declare though, Hank and I agree that nothing we've ever accomplished in our lives makes us happier or more proud than the accomplishments of our children. That won't change no matter how old they get.

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