This is a bit of a departure from my normal blog posts. No talk of criminal athletes, eminent domain takings, foodborne illness, or Indian casinos. Today I’m onto something more important than all those things – children and time. Last week I took my 10-year-old son Clancy to see pianist George Winston. Clancy is a good little piano player and George Winston is his favourite performer. We drove over two hours on a school night to reach the concert hall. And we didn’t get back home until after midnight. But in between my son and I heard ‘Thanksgiving,’ ‘Carol of the Bells,’ ‘Snowman,’ and The Peanuts classics. As a father, I got a charge looking at my son looking at George making a piano sing.
One observation I made was that my son was the youngest person in the concert hall. Similarly, when my wife and I went to see Bill Cosby a couple weeks back, we took two of our children and they were the littlest people in a sea of adults. I was thoroughly entertained. But the best part of the night was seeing my two children laugh non-stop at adult humour that was suitable for a child’s ears. Pretty rare these days. Then my 14-year old said, “Thanks, mom and dad, for taking us. This was a lot of fun.” I’ll take that from a teenager any day of the week.
I often wonder what my children will remember most about their childhood. I hope they remember that I took them with me. I’m persuaded that one of the most important things we do as parents is spend quality time with them. That includes introducing them to artists and entertainers. We have a lot of influence when we lead them to good books, good music, and good entertainment. By good I mean material that inspires and stirs the imagination, stuff that makes them laugh and sometimes even cry. One of my pals is David Crosby from Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their song ‘Teach Your Children’ says it well: “Can you hear and do you care ...teach your children what you believe in.”
What I believe is that when all is said and done, the time I invest in my children has a lot more riding on it than the time I put into the books I write.