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The Hierarchy of Stealing Time

The First Circle:  The Circle of Untouchability

borrow – negotiate – steal

3.  Children

It is very important to remind ourselves that we have tremendous value.  We have all undoubtedly failed at times, some more, some less, and we will certainly stumble again tomorrow, but we can never forget that we have intrinsic value.  We need to remember that we are not junk, but instead, unique individuals, with great strength and a strong character.  We need to remind ourselves to stay grounded and allow ourselves to be guided by a set of meaningful and universal principals.  The don’t be an asshole precepts.

We cannot compromise our morals because we need to stay true to ourselves.  Without them, there is not much use in talking about any hierarchy, and no point discussing stealing time.  Without limits, you just take what you want, when you want.  Don’t worry about who you crawl over, along the way.

As we discussed in the previous post, we must learn to negotiate time away from our spouse.  We need to negotiate, and that is the key. We cannot afford to pay for the consequences by borrowing or stealing time.  Like the universal principals, we need to remember that love is the strongest human bond.  The ultimate experience.  We just don’t borrow or steal from those we love.

Along with our spouse, our children require the rest of our untouchable commitment.

If you don’t have any, rejoice (kidding). 

In all seriousness.  Our kids deserve the best of us.  The best of our time.  The best of our energy.  Our best self.  Our total presence and uninterrupted participation.

If you don’t have children, that’s ok.  You don’t have to be a parent to feel complete.  For a whole decade, I had serious doubts that I would ever have an opportunity to even get married.  Yet, as our ten-year anniversary draws closer, I am amazed how much I have grown, and shared with someone else.

Love is nothing more than a resounding yes. 

Love is not a feeling.  It is a choice.  A wonderful, beautiful, costly choice.

You choose who you love or you simply choose not to love them.  Both are very valid options.  Both have their place in our lives.  Both choices come with definite consequences.

Having children is a choice as well.

If you are blessed to have children, remember that they deserve to live above our dreams and desires.  They deserve to have their own sacred space in the Circle of Untouchability.  I am not implying that our children are a burden, that they stand in the way of our future.  I am not suggesting that we need to decide between our dreams and theirs.  This is not Sophie’s choice. 

If you have children.  Raise them.  Love them.  Give whatever you have, as often as you can.

As you know, if you have been reading my previous posts, I have reawakened my deep passion for photography and writing.  I don’t need to be the best in the country.  I realize now, that all I really need is my own voice to be heard somewhere, anywhere.  I’ll take the last available chair in the orchestra.  I’ll take the timeslot that nobody wants.  I will do the best I can with what I have, to work with.

I don’t intend to stop chasing my dreams.  I vow to chase them relentlessly until I reach them, or exhaust myself trying.  I intend to burn all my available energy and abandon all notions of safety and a return journey.  This time, I’m abandoning plan B. 

But back to the children.

Along with our spouse and our ethical vow never to become an asshole, we owe our children everything.  We cannot horde our time selfishly and ask them to be patient and wait for us.  They are growing up so fast and they are learning so much.  They need us.  They can’t wait.  They demand us to be present and we gave them our word that we would be there.

Let us also remember, that we need them.  The love of a child can change the most stubborn heart.

I don’t remember how many times a day, I look back on my own childhood.  I keep going back and back because I realize through my own children, the kind of relationship I had with my own parents.

Before we had children, I had so little time.  Now that I have them, I find that I still have so little time.  What has changed however, is that I manage to get more done.     

It is counterintuitive.  I know.  It makes no sense, but it’s the truth. 

Children sharpen our focus and their endless energy is contagious.  That is if they don’t rip out your nerves first. 

This is a perfect time to remind ourselves that our children need us to hold on to our dreams.  They need us to resurrect them.  They need us not to abandon them.  They need us to keep pushing towards them, no matter how tough it gets.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how far you think you are from realizing your passions.  What matters is that we wake up tomorrow and keep taking even a single step forward. 

How do we expect to inspire our son or daughter to do anything, to hope and dream, when we ourselves have become too tired, stubborn, and hopeless.  There is not much inspiration in a desperate attempt to win the lottery or await retirement.

We cannot give them what we don’t genuinely possess.

We cannot inspire, if we ourselves drown our lives in quiet desperation.

We want our children to work hard, to discover who they are, and above everything else, to be happy.  How can they honour our wishes when their own parents leave each morning grudgingly to work, and cannot wait to drown their sorrows on the weekend.

We can only inspire our children by what we do, by how we live.

There is never a good time to quit.  There is no time to waste.  Life is worth fighting for, till the very end.  Life demands we continue living as artists, until we take our final breath.

Our excitement and dedication can become contagious.  Those little eyes, and those tiny ears, not to mention, busy hands, watch our every move.  While they watch, if they see what they need to see, they will crawl ever so slowly towards their potential.

The whole reason I am trying to create the Hierarchy of Stealing Time is to help one another navigate through the struggles that are likely to arise when the people that we love come in conflict with the work that needs to get done. 

In order to keep our dreams alive, we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us.  Brace your back.  We will dig many ditches.

We need to hustle.  We need to dive deep.  Our children however, cannot patiently stand by while we figure it all out.  We cannot ask them to remain dormant or passive.  They are fully alive.  They call for our undivided attention and time.

Like we negotiated with our spouse, we must also learn the art of negotiating with our children. 

Ultimately, while we work, we have to step away from our children.  When that happens, we need to know what we are doing.  One way, is to perhaps plan an experience together, or come to the agreement on some mutually beneficial desire.  A trip or an experience.  An opportunity that would not have presented itself otherwise, if we don’t work hard towards our dreams.

Our children need to understand that our desires are not always bankable.  Our work fail.  We might fail.  It might all be for nothing.  On the other hand, we have a chance to reach our potential, and when we do, we will celebrate together and hopefully celebrate often.   

Dreams are never our own.

As a family, everyone needs a voice.  The time we spend doing something, is time, not doing something else.  There is a cost.  Payment is always due. 

We need to negotiate our time today, for the time we want to spend with our children tomorrow.  Today, for example, at the beginning of spring, we can mutually agree to spend less time with them, so that perhaps next winter, we can take a family vacation together.  If the work pays off, we can go somewhere warm and celebrate.  Our dreams can begin to pay for a life we truly believe we deserve.

Children are reasonable. 

Sometimes it is not easy to see, as reason often lays hidden beneath tantrums and sugar meltdowns, but deep down, our children understand us well.  We share the same spirit.

The mistake we make in our own pursuits, is that we assume we know what other people are thinking, and we know what they are going to say.  We don’t consider their feelings, or refuse to see life from their unique vantage point.

We have an unquestionable responsibility to our children. 

Remember that you are not an asshole, or at least you don’t have to live your life as one.

I am currently working on an enema for the soul, by the way.  Sadly, my years of research are a bit backed up at the moment, but I will keep plugging away at it. 

Take care of your children.  There is only one you. 

That said.  Remember that one responsibility never excludes the possibility of the other.