Fathering… Combat Sports… Quantum Mechanics… Reality?
Let me explain.
I wanted my sons to know about things I am interested in. Reality and it’s nature tops my list of interests. So, I educated myself as best I could, and at least to the layman’s level on cosmology, quantum mechanics, astronomy, neuroscience, philosophy (including the martial arts)… When I find new and interesting information about these topics, I send them emails with links to the videos or articles. Along the way, I have learned a great deal, too.
Great. What Does The Study Of Reality Have To Do With Parenting?
I use these attempts to connect with them as springboards to conversations I never had when I was their ages. Pondering these things about reality now as an adult played an incredibly important part in me knowing myself. I believe sharing perspectives I’ve gleaned from my studies with them is important. I have not lived with them in over 9 years, and they’ve only been able to observe me over progressively shorter stints of time as the years passed. That has meant that, while we have been together, I’ve had to not only talk about how these perspectives changed me, I had to demonstrate those changes.
Last Christmas I asked one of my sons if he’d noticed any changes in me. He confirmed that he had. “You seem a lot more eager to show warmth to everyone. Like you’re trying to show them, “I’m your friend. I’m on your side.” An experience I had in late 2015 produced this change in me. My perception of reality had fundamentally changed, and I took the opportunity to share that experience with him.
Six months before that, I spoke with another of my sons. I shared with him the super-quick-cliff-notes version of how cosmology describes the creation of the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and our planet. We spoke of the chance collisions of worlds as our solar system and planet came into being. I told him that, in addition to the 13.7 billion years of cosmic history having to unfold precisely as it has, every single person down each part of his family tree throughout the history of our species had to meet and create at least enough kinship to make a baby for him to be here. Today. Himself. Could he even ponder the incalculable odds of all of that? I told him when I took just a moment to recall this, I could immediately change my attitude. I always became immensely grateful for this precious experience of life.
The Importance of Openings
By feeding them information about “heady-er” things over these years, I created openings for some incredible conversations with my sons. Had I not been studying, I wouldn’t have passed any of these things on. I would have missed out on so many wonderful conversations with my sons that videos like this have led to. And best of all, sometimes the information is so compelling, they decide to share how they feel about it with me. About 5 hours after I spoke to my son about our cosmic history, and the history of his existence, he sent me a text. The text read:
“What you told me earlier has had me thinking all day. I don’t think anything has ever made me feel so important and grateful for my life.”
That text is one of the most precious and important things I’ve ever read. I connected with my son in a way no other human being had before. Despite distance, despite increasingly infrequent interaction, and despite everything else…
If you have any form of communication with your kids, you can enjoy these same fruits. The challenge is to make time for pursuing your passions and curiosities. Take a mental break by feeding your mind. You never know what you’ll find that’s worth sharing with your kids. Or what kind of lofty experiences and connections you may share with them as a result.