1. Children don’t always stay close to you, and don’t always like you:
I was brought up in a religious culture where I was taught that as a parent I should ensure each of my children was to remain active in the faith, and loving and loyal to me as a parent.
If that failed to take place, success as a parent fell short.
Truth is, neither rarely happens. Children do not always choose to be part of organized religion, and they don’t always love and stay loyal to parents. Plainly speaking, it doesn’t always happen, because it’s a faulty expectation – it never should have been taught in the first place, or considered to have been taught.
For example, one of my five children doesn’t much like me. He’s a grown man, successful in his business pursuits, married to a lovely wife, and father to four very decent children.
And yet, he doesn’t care much for me.
Why? Just because.
There is no theory that exists or ever has existed that thoroughly explains parent/child relationships.
2. The good times don’t keep rolling on forever:
Sometimes you get on a role in life. Things go your way.
I’ve had a couple of times like this in my life.
You think they’ll never end.
For example, one time in my senior year in high school, I was a varsity water polo player, head varsity yell king, and president of the prestigious Varsity Club. I was dating a babe from another high school, and was anticipating running for student body president. And I had just been invited into the scholarship society.
Five months later: no more water polo. They put a sock over the microphone to muffle my voice during the cheers, because there were complaints that my voice was too loud. Varsity athletes didn’t come to varsity meetings. I found out my girlfriend was going out with different guys, and I lost the student body election. Plus, there were no scholarship offers that came my way, far from it.
Moral: the good times don’t keep rolling on forever.
3. Getting older plays tricks on you.
Recently, I was consulting for a broadcast company where I was facilitating a strategic planning session. The senior managers were all relatively young. No one was over forty.
During a break, these managers started talking about what they had heard the company was like twenty years ago. They would make comments like, “we don’t want to let that happen on our watch.”
As I was listening to them talk, all of the sudden, I realized I was the management consultant to that company during that time.
Twenty years ago, the then senior management was also young, and their mantra was to make the company much better than it had been.
Now, this new group of managers was repeating the same words with the same management consultant, drawing up essentially the same kind of strategic plan as twenty years earlier.
As I was going back in time, I was also going out into the future at the same time. Twenty years from now, there will be a new set of managers probably saying the same thing about these managers as these present managers were saying about managers twenty years ago.
I don’t think I’ll be an active consultant twenty years from now. But if I am, I call tell you what will probably happen. When you get older, there are these rare moments where you exist in the past, present and future at the exact same moment. Time collapses in on itself. It’s like flying out of the dimensions that lock you in.