You, dear reader, have probably lived a perfect, blameless, life. Every decision was carefully pondered, every possible outcome considered, before committing to buy or sell something, travel somewhere, befriend or marry someone, or taking any one of many other possible important steps on the journey of life. I, on the other hand, have made a mistake or two. Oh, I don't beat myself up over them, there are no "if only" thoughts ricocheting around in my empty noggin; I'm just admitting publicly that I'm not perfect.
I make that same admission to my son too. I tell him of things that I have done that didn't quite work out as well as they might have. The results of some of my decisions, in retrospect anyway, are quite funny in the telling. It helps to be able to laugh about things. My theory is that if I am open with my son about the fact that I bumped my knees (and sometimes my psyche too) along the way, he will be less likely to make the same mistakes himself. I hope I'm right.
I used to tell my son, for as long as he would believe it, that I knew everything there was to know. He soon realized that I was, to put it politely, exaggerating, and ever since then I have had to convince him that I am telling the truth when I attempt to explain things to him. When my mother was still alive, she used to chastise me for trying to make a joke out of everything with my son. My position was then, and still is now, that there is plenty in life to cry about, so I am simply trying to create some sort of balance by showing my son that there is a lot to laugh about too.
Life is too short, too complicated and often too brutal. Two of my employees just returned from the funeral of their uncle. A girl who used to babysit my son a few years ago, herself only about seventeen as I write this, is saying permanent goodbyes to both her father and her grandfather this week. They died within eight hours of each other. We live, we die. If we don't learn to laugh at ourselves and our troubles along the way, we are going to be miserable much of the time.
I am going to continue to be my son's goofy dad, trying (sometimes with great difficulty) to find some humour in the world around us, and hope that he too will see that a sense of humour is the best possible coping mechanism as we make our way through our lives. After all, the world doesn't need any more angry and bitter people. We have enough of those already.