Oh, the days of yore. When the world was so large and all things appeared wonderful. The future was bright and ever possible. Our hearts had the power to change the world. To move mountains and to cross oceans. Our minds, not so much. So we learned. We studied and we eventually found the answers to the universe.
Well, no, not really. Honestly, most of us made it out of childhood with enough smarts in our brains to buy food, keep gas in the car, and give money to the “people” it was due so we didn't get sent to collections.
We didn't even know where the “collections” building was. I didn't even know how credit worked until halfway through college. Sad. I know.
When I was a boy, my parents did a great job raising me. We moved all over the country and met so many different types of people. From California to Washington, from Oregon to Oklahoma, there were so many different life lesions. My parents made sure I treated people well and took the time to understand issues from both sides. I was innately inquisitive, almost to a fault as I would spend a great deal of time thinking about something. Video games like The Legend of Zelda took me forever.
Thinking is one of the reasons I was always so creative. All my toys had back stories and personalities (even the cars). I cared a great deal about how my teddy bear felt when he fell off the bed and made sure he was put back in his rightful place so he knew I cared about him. I was also very curious about how things worked mechanically. There was just so much to know in the world.
Today, I have three sons that have successfully passed Chelsea’s nine month prototype phase and one still in production. Two are very curious and the last one out is more of a wanderer and “knock stuff over-er.” I find myself being asked “How come that, Dada?” and “Why is this, Dada?” questions a lot more now. Between that and the slow decision-making about what to wear for the day, I found myself going insane in the membrane the other day. The blood pressure in my head was just about at peak and I was becoming short-tempered.
Then I realized, I was just as curious when I was a little boy. There was so much in the world that was fascinating and inspirational. The very miracle of mechanical flight was enough to leave me staring at the ceiling for hours at night in bed with my hand shaped like the bladed edge of a wing cutting through the sky. And I became suddenly, and painfully, aware that they had no way of finding out unless I took the time to tell them. If I didn't take the time they would be left at a loss and if repeated enough, they'd just learn they couldn't rely on me as their father for answers and wouldn't come to me in the future if they needed it.
I had to decide to either let them learn to stay away through action or take the time to teach them what they yearned to know. I mean, honestly, nowadays kids don't care about much when they hit their teens and lack any sort of passion and drive. I knew I had to invest in them while they still had dreams and curiosity to foster better thinking and understanding. There’s little that saddens me more when it comes to kids than pointing out an amazing natural sight only to get the response, “Uh huh,” as only the glow of a cell phone captures the moments in their mind.
So, out with the lazy me and in with the enthusiastic. Now, the word “why” sparks a sense of duty. As a father, “why” is a call to the honor that it is to be a father. To be trusted. To be needed. I know the “why” won't always be as plentiful as it is now. As the years roll by, they will fade like smoke in the wind. I just hope my opportunity to take advantage of the why isn't wasted.