Cyndi O’Meara once told me about a thing she and Howard do called the “Rocking Chair Test”. If they are getting all intense about something, they apply the RCT. They imagine themselves, ancient and Yoda-like on their verandah, sitting in their rocking chairs, and looking back on their lives. What will they think of the trials and challenges of today? Will they be full of meaning and intensity, or will they just be little blips on the radar of life? The RCT, kind of helps you get a bit of perspective. (Sorry Cyndi, I may have made that Yoda bit up.)
Today I am applying the Rocking Chair Test to our kids, in the wake of Father’s Day, and all things family-like.
What will it be like, looking back on the job we did as parents, and the childhood we helped create for our children? Will we remember with dread, all the crumbs under the dining table and the tears over broken toys? Or will we wish, just once, that we could still heal broken things with a big hug and a bit of super-glue? Will we miss those errant crumbs?
What will we think of the challenges that the kids have faced? Will we wish we could wipe them away with the flick of an Enjo, or will we love and embrace them for being the very things that made our children stronger, more resilient, more tenacious?
What will we think of the statement “I just want them to be happy?” Will that still be our mantra, or will we look back with the perspective that only time can bring, and think perhaps there’s more to life than being happy all the time?
I hope that we will rock in our chairs in the afternoon sunlight, one gnarled hand holding another, and say that our children had lives that were happy, sad, funny, boring, joyful, challenging, meaningful, and daring. I hope they will be curious, take risks, rise to challenges, laugh, play and bask in the sunlight.
I hope we will sit together, on all the Father’s Days yet to come, and say, “We had a good life.” Sometimes happy, sometimes not, but good.
…But I won’t miss the bloody crumbs. I just swept yesterday!
What will you miss?
Wanna come and clean up my crumbs?