Becoming a dad is a challenging thought to overcome. There are so many known unknowns to contend with, let alone the unknown unknowns that you can’t fathom. You are dealing with someone else’s life. A small human being, unique in personality that will grow within the context of a distinct situation you can’t control.
There is something natural about predicting my child’s future though. Much like I used to imagine what my future was going to be when I was a child. I think it is natural to wonder what might happen as you both take on the challenge that is fatherhood.
An example of me predicting my child’s future
One of my best friends Dan and I have known each other since the age of two, that’s a long time. I currently live about 100 miles from him. Strangely and naively at a party, before my wife became pregnant, I said that we should move closer to each other so our kids can all grow up together. I had comforting drunken visions of this never ending friendship cycle. I think at that point my wife could see quite how pissed I was at that point.
I was thinking back that moment, I now realise just how unlogical that thought process was. I assumed that because our lives collided together and stuck, so would the lives of our children. Yes, it would be a nice if it did happen, but to plan around that idea was naive at best, almost absurd.
There are so many factors which come into play when it comes to children such as location, school, finances, health, diet, hobbies, sports, parents. At this point, I am not even considering the various aspects of historical events, the ever changing current political climate and the improvement of technology that will affect the uncertain future of a child.
My childhood is no reference as to the future
My childhood included GTA, Tony Blair, Britpop, club music, MSN, Goldeneye, the Nightmare before Christmas, CDs, DVD,s Trainspotting, Pogs, Tazos, Adidas poppers, David Beckham, Funhouse and Biker Grove. That’s all in the past now, and a new template of fads and fashion will take its place.
When my parents had me, they couldn’t have predicted all the influences on my life. Looking back at my life makes me realise quite how random some events are. We look back and highlight patterns that led to a particular event like it was logical, but in reality, we have no grasp as to how things are going to go and we never will.
The future is uncertain
Considering all of this, it clear that even trying to comprehend what the future is going to be like for my children is futile. Yes, we should actively plan for the future and try our best to provide the best circumstances for them to flourish. But no, we shouldn’t try and pretend we have any actual control of the circumstances. This applies to any thoughts predicting my child’s future too.
To quote Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher who I love;
“Every man’s life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain.”
In other words, there is no point worrying about things you cannot control, like the future, as it is irrelevant. We have only now, this moment. Any effort predicting my child’s future is as futile as trying to predict my own.
So next time you find yourself pondering as I have, stop it. There is no point, and you will get nothing out of it. Just enjoy the moment, and what will happen, will happen.