Who was it that said ; “We get too soon old -too late smart?’
Don’t bother looking it up. Apparently no one makes claim to it, and it certainly wasn’t me.
A Dr. Livingston, psychiatrist, did write a book of that name. Obviously he has spent his life discussing the different takes on the subject, and has witnessed the pitiful truth that some people come to the end of their lives with amazing regret and recrimination, We see the shoulda-coulda syndrome manifest itself in the lives of those who had never come to grips with the fact that what is done is done, and they could never have been Einstein, even if God had decided that we could play things over, and that we could be anyone other that who or what He intended us to be; then that pessimism had some chance to be productive.
One of the great quotes in Livingston’s book has to do with our role as mentors and it is as follows; ” the primary goal of parenting, beyond keeping our children safe and loved, is to convey to them a sense that it is possible to be happy in an uncertain world, to give them hope. We do this, of course by example more than anything we say to them. If we can demonstrate in our own lives the qualities of commitment, determination and optimism, then we have done our jobs.”
I debated with myself that I should reveal things of a very personal nature, that I should come off as prideful or promoting. But, here is is; my best (perhaps the only concrete witness) of how this can work. But for my daughter, Christa’s open and loving nature, I would not have this statement on my wall beside me: Part of a larger declaration made as she became 60 years old, goes as follows; ” You are an inspiration and you make me want to dig down deep and figure out what God has in store for me. I am so proud that you are my Dad !!!!”
Who would want more to provide some assurance that a child got the message? We all know that our responsibilities lie beyond that of our children. Those about us in everyday connections just might envision the same Spirit working in us.
Life is not short unless me make it so, If we are to be “smart” sooner or later depends upon whether we model precepts that can help direct the course of someone else’s life in God’s direction.
A short quote of Livingston settles it this way; So here’s the role of time, patience, and reflection. If we believe it is better to build than destroy, better live and let live, better to be than be seen, then we might have a chance to find a satisfying way through life, this flickering consciousness between great silences”. And that consciousness is not our own!