It is indeed amusing whenever I chance upon kids playing pretend and while it does bring back good memories from my childhood, it also provides a brief glimpse into the fascinating and developing brain of children. It is such imagination that gives them that unique childhood boldness that they can do anything they set their minds to. Now many might have more picturesque childhood memories but I can only give what I have got and even though it does not amount to much, I am definite that it amounts to something for someone.
A few daye ago, I was warmly invited to attend the high school graduation of my niece and I was just as proud of her as I was of her sister when she graduated from middle school a few years back as the salutatorian of her class. I might not have competed with the screaming of family and friends as names were being called out and diplomas handed out but I was screaming all the same on the inside. There is something distinctly rewarding to us parents when we witness the next generation take the bit between their teeth and run with it determined to make a name for themselves. Now in both instances, I expressed my pride in both of them because they are both uniquely different and have their unique strengths and flaws. As salutatorian, she moved onto the next phase which is high school and her sister is moving on to college with a partial scholarship….I couldn’t be more honoured to witness the transition as their journeys unfold.
As we gathered to take pictures and the like, I brusquely waved away my sister’s apologies because she revealed that my niece had vehemently insisted that she did not want any graduation party. Now, I was surprisingly thrilled by that piece of information because it displayed consideration (by the way, I was not the one tasked with throwing a party) and awareness that this was the end of one phase and also the beginning of another. I remember back in our days, you finished well because it was what was expected of you, there were no parties because it was your life that you were laying out and so it is somewhat mildly disconcerting that today certificates of participation (what else were you in school for?) are greeted with the same fanfare as awards of academic merit. Congratulations are in order however the attainment of a milestone only brings you closer to the goals/destination you have set in mind, and therefore there should be an eagerness to commence onto the next phase.
I conceded a few nights ago to my daughter’s persistent request that I tell her some of my childhood stories especially those that occurred about the same time I was her age. I remember my father tasking myself and my elder brothers to attain a minimum overall average of 85% (if my memory serves me right) as a prerequisite to getting a prize. And I remember how I threw myself headlong into the challenge because there was something tangible to be obtained, I did not know what it was but the mystery served as an added incentive. At the end of the term or year, I remember being handed my first ‘adult’ wristwatch as the reward for my academic performance. It was a stainless steel, bracelet Seiko wristwatch and I remembered how fascinated I was because it was not the digital version that was popular back then, it was fully manual. I remember prising the back open just so I could see how the insides looked; the tiny gears, the shiny links, the shiny spring but most fascinating of all was the oscillation of the balance wheel. I remember winding the knob, releasing it and just watching the balance wheel as it swung back and forth, keeping time in its passing.
Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending because I remember not heeding the hint not to wear it to school but how would my peers know of it if I did not flaunt it and so I did. Now although I was fascinated by the mechanism of the watch but I was also careful not to damage anything. As expected, curiosity killed the watch because my classmates did not share the same boundaries of curiosity tempered with care that I did and so one day, someone put in just a bit too much of a force in examining the balance wheel…..and ‘Humpty-Dumpty” could never be put together again. Naturally, I reported the watch “stolen” because I knew that no excuse would outweigh the consequences of disobedience and so I mourned alone. That experience taught me a life lesson; people can never take care of your affairs in the same way as you would, applying just the right measure of brevity when needed or the right measure of excitement as and when needed.
For today’s world, expensive gifts are doled out when the recipient has no idea as to the value of the gift or the cost of obtaining that gift. We are left with a society where history is best confined in history books as we try to give our children what we did not get growing up. We completely forget that just like that balance wheel, there must always be that balance in life for there to be successful continuity. We completely forget that truth requires no adjective, and whether we choose to believe it or not, truth will always bring about liberty. Any human with a capacity to speak can tell tales of freedom but experiencing freedom is as rejuvenating as getting a cool drink of water at the end of a marathon. In our journey through life, we are often faced with boulders that obstruct our vision of where we are going to and it is only by sheer hard work, determination and persistence that we are able to move aside those boulders. Some boulders are so huge that we had better apply the right amounts of effort in the right direction, with knowledge or watch in abject dismay as the boulder leaves a path of wanton destruction in its wake.
That is one of the lessons I focus on in passing to my next generation. Nothing of real significance has ever been accomplished without the efforts, dedication and sacrifice of a few. I choose to be among those few and if I cannot, then I choose to uphold the liberty borne out of the sacrifices of those before me. The ability to prioritise rightly is something that will always serve you in good stead or else your exertions and hard work would be an exercise in futility. Realising that in order to continually breathe the rejuvenating air of freedom, we must hitherto exercise our fair share of sacrifice and dedication because we stand where we are, based on the actions of those before us and therefore the responsibility to leave behind something worth building upon is essential. It is our responsibility to pay it forward!
On Sunday, I learned that the spiritual reality will always triumph today’s physical impossibilities, however you had better know what spiritual reality awaits you or else you will be swatted away by the crashing boulders of today. I realise that with the definite knowledge of my spiritual reality, I dare not give in to the seemingly impervious impossibilities of the present. Yesterday is history, today is the present and tomorrow a mystery and so how would I dare hope in tomorrow’s mystery if I am completely blinded by tolday’s obstacles. I know with unerring certainty what my spiritual reality is and hold onto it tightly because the relentless crashing of boulders from yesterday’s mistakes bode no good for me. Notwithstanding if my time runs out, I want to press on against these boulders and if need be, go out with taut muscles aching, teeth clenched, rivulets of perspiration running down my face and with my last breath, a roar in defiance because I refuse to give in.
Remember that there’s so much to life than meets the eyes however we had better be sure of our destination or else we miss it even if were dressed in glitz and glamour.
עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות