Overheard: “Family is everything.” “My children are my proudest achievement.” “He died surrounded by family.” Culture is groupthink. Its aim is to create a fear of being alone. To alienate us from ourselves.
I’ve heard men say that their children are their greatest achievement. I’m sure that’s not what Siddhartha’s father was saying when not-yet Buddha slipped out of the family compound, abandoned his wife and infant son to their privilege, and hit the road to oblivion.
Young children still have one foot in heaven. A nine-year-old girl emerged from a three-day coma to speak of a “tall and nice” lady named Elizabeth and her new friends Andy and Mark.
It doesn’t happen often—and most certainly not with me—but some of us are born fully formed, bursting with self-expression and absolutely ready to go. First, though, there’s infancy, the smallish necessity of being somebody’s kid.
A tendency in parents is to vastly overestimate the degree of influence they have over their children. Parents do matter but less than they imagine and often not for the reasons they think.