I know that you’re fourteen and on the cusp or reaching adulthood. For you, as you grow taller and taller than me and reach out with your fingers towards the end of childhood, I know that you want your freedom. At least once a week, you fantasize about moving out, about getting a job and making choices for yourself. You have designed your future home, clothed your future family, and made decisions for your future children. I can see it all now, your house with the white picket fence, the dogs and cats, and two children with their faces pressed against the window as you do all the wonderful things for them that I haven’t or won’t.
My beloved son. I have done my best to live my life by rules, morals, and ethics that I have either inherited from my parents, negotiated with your father, or learned from my students. I have listened to the stories of my students as they describe living in self-contained bubbles in their homes and never see their parents except for when the students take the garbage out of their rooms or ask for more things.
I want you in my life. I want to be in your life. And I worry that giving in to what feels like endless demands for more stuff will yield nothing more than a loss of your presence. It’s not that I want to create a friendship with you. I merely want to know that I have raised a young man who is guided by his principles and his moral compass and not the fascination or lust for more…more…more.
Your father and I have jobs that are incompatible with today’s market. We can’t keep up with the fads of new gadgets, gizmos, or the most flashy and amazing item that can change the world and drain holes in your pockets. Your father and I have old-fashioned beliefs of not giving in to every single request made by our children and we feel that you should have to work to earn what you want.
It’s not that we are trying to make your life harder. We would give so much to ease you from your childhood and into adulthood.
But the world has no problem with stripping away the illusions once it has gotten you to sign on the dotted line and sold you into a contract that requires ten parts of your soul and a few limbs in reserve.
I want to give you the world. But I want you to keep your soul while I keep mine as well. I don’t want to sell myself to the highest bidder so you can have your buttonless screen that has zapped the minds and mentality of your peers. A girl nearly walked into my car today. She was so busy swiping her thumb across her phone, she couldn’t see that I was right there. I kept waiting for her to look up from this digital tarot card deck and realize that she was so close to literally walking into the car. And when she finally gazed up and saw me, her eyes were blank slates.
I want you to see the world, and not through a lens that has been created by a massive corporation. The world is waiting for your right outside your window or outside the door. And the window should never be something created by Microsoft.
And the only apple I want you to indulge in is something from my refrigerator.
My beloved son, my wonderful young man, my heart’s keeper, I know I am not fulfilling your dreams.
But I am trying to fulfill your soul. Just give me time. I hope, someday, you will the nobility of what your father and I are trying to do.