So the other day I came down the stairs of my house only to find my daughter playing video games on her computer. I am not a big fan of video games; in fact I hate them so much I feel as if my children are being deprived of a bonding experience by my refusal to play them. I am not unduly restrictive and will let my children play them within reason. However, when I came down the stairs and saw my daughter playing a video game instead of concentrating on an essay to get into the high school of her choice, I sort of blew a gasket. This was especially because she told me just a little while earlier, that she couldn’t come out on a run/ride with me, because she had to work on her report.
I told her that if she has time to play a video game, she definitely has time to ride her bike with me while I run. She started to howl in protest that she just needed a little break, so I replied fine, you can take your break with a little exercise. I made her get dressed and ushered her out the door with her crocodile tears still running down her cheeks.
I didn’t tell her where we were going to ride, but I set out in the direction of Green-Wood Cemetery. I wondered how long it would take before she figured out that I was going to take her to visit her grandfather. She didn’t say a word during the entire ride/run over there and insisted on riding behind me the entire time. I really didn’t care, as long as I could keep her insight. Along the way I tried to figure out what I would say to her when we arrived at my father’s eternal resting place.
Dad rests in a brass urn that is enclosed behind glass in one of the mausoleums at the cemetery. The room has a nice comfy bench right before his niche. My daughter and I sat down before it and were quiet for a moment or two before I began to talk to her. She mentioned how she missed her grandpa and started to cry. I replied how I missed him too and was still upset with him for passing away.
I took the opportunity of her mentioning grandpa to tell her that my father would never have let me get away with playing video games when I had an important school project to work on. He would have taken the game away faster than I would have been able to blink my eyes. I then went on to tell her that if she wants to succeed in this life she is going to have to be better than everyone else. There is too much competition in the world. Everyone is after the same thing and only the stronger, smarter and more willing will be able to get it. I continued to wax philosophical about how every subsequent generation in our family line, in fact of most generations of Americans, are better off than the previous generation. However, my fear is that this won’t continue to be true except for those who have a commitment to excel in life that is greater than everyone else’s.
My little speech then moved onto how a strong mind is supported by a strong body and vice versa. I explained to her the importance of exercise in leading a healthy and happy life and how I feared that she didn’t get enough of it. I told her to look around at all the people that she knows who are in bad shape and poor health. This was mostly because these people that we know didn’t take care of their bodies and are now paying the price by having ailments and other disabilities; including her grandpa who has the ultimate disability of being dead.
We continued talking for a while, or really, I continued talking about life in general and my daughter nodded her head in understanding. She didn’t say much, but I hoped that I got through to her on some level. I worry that she doesn’t have any real interests or pursue any activities. She is like her mother in this way, which makes it hard to figure out what to talk about. A person needs to be well rounded with interests and pursuits in order to be able to converse. I wish we talked more; it’s just that I struggle to find a common ground with her.
After my little pep-talk, we continued our run/ride around the cemetery. I wanted to go around Prospect Park as well, but I gave her the choice of extending our trip or heading directly home at the intersection where we would have to decide on the direction. I hoped she would want to continue on, but she said she was hungry, so I left it at that and took her home. We will just have to see if the seeds I planted take root and I’ll have to make sure I water them regularly.