I’ve written extensively about my love for my grandsons and about what I feel our children and grandchildren can teach us about life. As adults we tend to lose our ability to be awestruck by the simple things or to trust others unconditionally. We feel we have to understand and analyze everything we see and hear. We hold grudges and succumb to anger when we should just let it go and move on with our lives. I’m convinced that in order to truly appreciate the gift of life, we must embrace the sense of awe and innocence we all had as children.
Last Sunday night, as I carried my 4 year old grandson to to his mom’s car, I pointed out the stars in the sky and tried to explain to him that the light we were seeing from some of the stars was from stars that had blown up millions of years ago. His reply, clothed in an innocence that can only come from a child, was “did they blow up like a puffer fish PopPop?” I rely on the words and expressions of my 4 year old grandson, my life coach, when life throws me a lemon and I need to recenter. He doesn’t know it yet, but he is the greatest teacher I have ever had.
He also doesn’t know that thousands of unborn children are killed every day in the country he is growing up in. He doesn’t know that his PopPop is committed to ending the practice of abortion and to leaving him and his little brother a world where every child is safe, from the moment of conception. I hope that my work plays a part in changing minds and creating a world where children are held in reverence, and I hope that one day both my grandsons will know that they were my inspiration.
The lessons we can learn about life, from the perspective of an innocent child, are the lessons we can use to make the world a better place. They serve as our teachers, with no agenda and no biases. They share their wisdom freely, happy to accept nothing other than a hug for their services. All they need as teachers is for us to be willing students. In a prior piece titled The Teacher, I quoted an ancient Zen Proverb that stated “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” My teacher appeared 4 years ago. I was ready to accept his teachings, and use them daily as I strive to be a better person and to serve my fellow man.
These days, when the world seems to be crumbling around me, I focus on my time in the presence of my teacher and gain comfort in knowing that he will change the world. My resolve to do my part is totally dependent on the lessons I learn from a 4 year old child, and nothing I could ever do for him could ever repay him for what he has done for me.
An ancient Zen Proverb simply states “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” My teacher appeared a little over three and a half years ago with the birth of my first grandson. Not only is he my best friend in the world; he has taught me more about life, courage, and unconditional love than I ever thought I could learn. This week he passed an important milestone in his young life that I won’t discuss in this forum other than to say how proud I am of him and how inspired I am by his courage and resiliency. If we just pay attention, children will show us how to deal with adversity, how to leave it in the past, and how to move on with life, stronger than ever.
Our country allows over a million of its children to be killed in the womb every year. That’s a million teachers, life coaches, and best friends the world will never get to know. As I write this I can see a crystal clear starlit sky outside my window; a reminder of just how small what we call our world is when measured against the infinite expanse of the Universe. Each of us and every one of the children killed today in the world’s abortion mills were individually unique creations, even when measured against an endless Universe. As adults, we think we have all the answers, but until we learn again to view life from the perspective of an awe-struck child we will continue to kill our own and suffer the consequences of our actions.
My grandson taught me that every child is a miracle beyond the comprehension of all the brainpower and super-computers mankind could ever muster. He taught me that protecting innocent children is the most important duty any adult could ever undertake. My teacher is showing me the way to live a principled life when we run and play, and when he falls asleep in my arms, knowing he is safe with Pop Pop. He teaches me tolerance when I see his little brother strike him and he chooses not to retaliate. Nearly every time we are alone my teacher asks me if I have to work tomorrow. That means he wants to spend the night at Pop Pop’s house, and reminds me of the special bond we have, and the love and friendship we share.
Our children and grandchildren can teach us how to live. All we have to do is be willing students. Our teachers can change our lives for the better and help us change the world if we accept their teachings as the unvarnished, unbiased truth that can only be expressed by pure innocence.
The commitment I have made to spend the rest of my life working to end abortion and to protect children at every stage of their life is not a task I volunteered for. It’s a job I feel I have to do, regardless of whether I’m qualified or capable of achieving my goal. With the lessons learned and yet to be learned from my teacher I will find a way to get the job done.