They can be a total pain in the arse, drive me to the brink of sanity on a daily basis, show two-fifths of fuck all respect for me and are generally ungrateful turds. They have perfected the art of provocation and can time a disarming “I love you” down to the millisecond before I explode into a frustrated rage. They don’t clean, cook, pick up dog shit or contribute to the harmonious running of the household in any meaningful way. They are the definition of parasites. But with attitude.
And I love them with every ounce of my being. They are my children.
And they are my role models.
So why would I see these spawn-of-the-devil as role models? I mean if I followed their lead, DHS would have them shipped off faster than I’d be able to beat a path through their accumulated filth, there’d be nothing but chips and chocolate milk in the pantry and I’d have a permanent room booked in the pysch ward.
Because they don’t give a fuck, that’s why. In general they don’t care about much except what they envisage will make them happy right now (or at most in the next day or two). And that is bloody awesome.
Now I can already sense the keyboard warriors out there cracking their knuckles and wiping the drool from their snarling lips, but hear me out before you blast me with your expert parental opinions that are working oh-so-well for you and your picture perfect 2.3 children.
Of course I educate them on delayed gratification. Of course I don’t bow down to their demands at every request. Of course I am doing my best to raise conscientious, compassionate, thoughtful and loving children.
My admiration of their not-giving-a-fuck-edness is silent and private, and most certainly in retrospect. It is admiration of their amazing ability to not ruminate on past events or worry about future concerns.
Admiration for their persistence in pursuing happiness in the moment.
Test it for yourself. Say no to everything your kids ask for to entertain themselves for long enough, and they eventually give up and make up their own fun activities. (I’m not very good at this I must admit)
And that is something I, and many people I know, struggle to keep in the forefront of our minds on a regular basis.
I see so many people hellbent on the pursuit of future happiness. So focussed and determined to reach a certain point they envisage will mean eternal contentment and peace. And you know what? I think they are missing the whole point.
Because surely convincing yourself that happiness is just around the corner, or contentment will come after you buy that new shiny thing, or peace will be finally had when a, b and c occur, is also saying you are unable to be happy now? That you cannot find peace and contentment within yourself right now. That you see your life and everything in it as inadequate or lacking. And that in itself is a negative experience.
So is the pursuit of happiness ipso facto making us unhappy? Hmm…
I know I’m not saying anything you don’t already know, and I understand there are as many arguments against this theory as there are truths.
What I am saying is that for me, all it takes some days is to take a minute to check in with myself, to sit and observe my surroundings, take stock of my things and where I am, to see, really see my kids. Listen to them, watch them, talk with them and read between the lines. And you know what?
As much as I hate to say it and would never make a song and dance about it with them, but quite often, they are right. The little fuckers really do have a good handle on this life thing.
And it’s those days that I realise life isn’t all that bad. Sure I would swap it all in a heartbeat to have Renee back for just one more day, hell just one more hour if I could. But when all is said and done, we have it pretty good.
We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, good food in our bellies, supportive family and friends nearby, a beautiful place to live in and healthy bodies and minds that allow us to chose how we spend our time.
We are blessed to be alive every minute of every day, and the worst thing we can do is take that for granted or wish for more.
The grass wouldn’t be greener on the other side if we all spent as much time tending our own lawns as we do coveting others. (wow – that’s bloody meme worthy!)
So that’s why my children are my role models. Not because they are angels that shit rainbow jelly beans and have shiny halos over their heads, but simply because they appreciate that happiness is available right now.
You just have to look around you.