When I was young my father would take me to the park often. We would do all the fun things you do at the park but I distinctly remember him walking on fences. Kids would gather round to see my father walk on the fence surrounding the playground. I always felt so proud and cool because no one elses father could do that. My father was 6’2″ 180 lbs. Tall and lanky, walking casually across the fence like it was your everyday sidewalk. Everyone would stare and couldn’t help but smile.
When I think back to those times now, I think about the figurative artistry of that trick. My father spent his whole life doing a balancing act. My significant other told me today that he believes most men struggle between their innate basic desires and the need for family and companionship and stability. It’s an internal pull, a tug of war, spiritual warfare. It’s a psychological counsel deliberating over your future and your body just does what it’s sentenced to do.
My dad balanced. He was an ex military man. A Navy man. He’s the one who taught me how to iron my school uniform, how to turn corned beef hash into a meal and how to make a bed properly. He taught me how to re-seal and cement our front porch every summer and how to cut the lawn. He taught me to skate and ride a bike. How to maneuver a motor scooter and hang on to the back of his Triumph motorcycle.
My father struggled with everything else though. I know now that he could have been more connected and more mature as a husband, a son and a brother. He could have been more disciplined as an employee. He could have sacrificed a little bit more for the people in his life who believed in him and had sacrificed so much for him. He could have been more reliable. He tried to be a good father and to his credit, he still occasionally tries but it seems as though he was only good on that fence.
When your children grow older, they require the same maturity and selflessness as everyone else in your life. They require something better than balance. In my experience, love is involuntary. You may make a decision at some point to be with someone, or stay with someone, or to take care of a child. However, when you love someone in it’s true form, it’s uncontrollable. It escapes all logic. It takes over. Start by balancing. You must end with total submission. You don’t have to forget about who you are. Your identity can stay in tact. I believe that you must accept new aspects of who you are. Everyone has layers. Some layers you shed like an exoskeleton and you leave them behind.
What im suggesting is a balance beyond balance. I’m suggesting an ego-less equilibrium. Homeostasis of humility if you will. I am only suggesting this because I believe in the return. There are multiple moments when you must choose a side of the fence,stand on solid ground and dare to enjoy it. Everything in your life is a gift. I believe even struggle is a gift because it defines your determination and your ability not to be devoured by life.
My father taught me many things. Unfortunately, some of them were about the repercussions of weakness. Some lessons were learned through observation. Some of his actions taught me how not to be and what not to tolerate. No matter what…that fence trick was very impressive in it’s time. Ironically, my dad only fell when he was on the ground.
Happy belated fathers day. Learn how to balance your balance.