After sending my kids to school this morning, seeing them walk into their school, this thought struck me: Live forward.
I know a life is to be lived and lived one day at a time. The present will soon pass. One moment will give way to another. But live forward?
Isn't that obvious? How can I refuse it? I can't stop time and live forever in the present? I guess for me the message is not about freezing time. Time stops for no one.
It is about a mental state of mind. The message is telling me not to fear the future. Not to play hide and seek with it; with me hiding and the future seeking.
More relevantly, it is telling me that my kids will all grow up, get married and start their own family.
And with all that comes success and failure, joy and heartaches, trials and pain, love and hope.
Alas, I have no delusion about what awaits them. Reality will not always be kind, calibrated, cushy or padded for them.
If you are with me so far, here's what living forward means to me concerning my children's life as they grow up. It means that not every aspect of their future is going to be a welcoming bandwagon.
Life's not going to roll out the red carpet for them.
In other words, not everything about their future can be trusted to unfold the way I want it.
As parents, we want the best for them. We want a smooth transition, a seamless one. But most times, we have no control over the circumstances they will confront. Most times, the transition will be one with jagged edges.
One day, they will shed their innocence and face choices that will test them to the core. For us, as parents, that day will be hard to process, envisage and confront.
So, I've to admit that as a father, I dread facing their tomorrows. I fear living forward and worrying about how they will be disappointed and disillusioned.
How their dreams will fall flat, and how their hopes crushed. And they surely will. Life guarantees it, somehow, but not with malice though.
So, at times, their tomorrow is a place that I try to avoid thinking or facing. It is a place not only of uncertainty but of lurking shadows of rejection, disappointment and failure.
All this just adds up to make the message "Live Forward" hard to swallow, if not hard to face up. But what is the alternative? How should I live then?
Live backwards? Live in a state of mental rewinding, avoiding the emotional dawn of a dreaded new day for my kids, and hoping that it will all go away? Pretend their innocence will not give way to disbelief, shock, rebellion, fears, tears and pain?
Should I play hide and seek with their tomorrows, living in the shadow of fear, and hoping that it will just pass by, blown away? Stuffing my head in the sand of the present, and exposing my rear to the passing time of the future?
I guess the message "Live Forward" is getting louder now, more shrill, more strident. It can only get worse if I ignore or dismiss it. I can hide no more.
I have to cross this mental Rubicon, this emotional chasm. I therefore need a change of mind-set, a brave heart of resolve and a spirit of unhurried assurance.
So, seen in another light, living forward is in fact a message of faith, hope and courage.
When I live forward for my kids, I live with a heart ready to face the music they face and to change its tune with and for them. Living forward forces me to confront my worries for their future and see the other side of it.
Although their tomorrows may be a place of uncertainty, I am forgetting one empowering fact about living forward, and it is this: Living forward means I can live in the future of their tomorrow, and every tomorrow, however painful, brings me closer to it.
It is a future that rewards the paternal heart that never gives up. It is a future of change, of promise, of redemption. It is a future of my children's maturity, where they become a better person, transformed and humbled, empowered and hopeful by the trials they go through with their parents by their side, every step of the way.
As they say, when in hell, keep walking.
I guess this is their rite of passage and my growth as their parent. It is the road they and I cannot avoid. Our growth depends on it, and my purpose as a father demands that I face it with them. My hope is thus found on the other side of it, that is, the future of their tomorrows.
So, this is the message that I will hold close to my heart this morning. And I will bring it with me to face a brand new tomorrow with my children.
Live forward is therefore my reason to live it up, live onwards, and live with courage for them. Because I see the trials my children will face not as an impediment to growth for both of us, but a bridge to close the gap between perseverance and success, between discipline and hope, between love that stays on and love that overcomes. Cheerz.