Sometimes Dad’s Just Don’t Know

"Crossroads of the Confederacy" -- The Civil War Railroad Crossroads at Corinth (MS) 2013
It is fair to say we have reached the crossroads here and I who am quite decisive is feeling a bit less so because sometimes the choice to go left instead of right or up instead of down is bigger than trying to decide if dinner will be steak or sushi.

Flip through the pages and posts and you’ll find comments about paralysis by analysis. You’ll see I am a man who likes to consider the consequences but understands that sometimes you jump into the flames and dance your way through but the weekend has made me question everything.

It has made me wonder if the teenager in this house is just being a teenager or if maybe I have been clueless. Maybe the crap that is being flung every which way is because I am a fool and an idiot.

Except I don’t believe I am both. Might be a fool, might be an idiot but I am not both. Of course if I am clueless I wouldn’t have any idea that I am both a fool and an idiot which would be appropriate for a clueless man.

It would be nice to have a mentor, guru, big brother or oracle I could consult with. Would be great if there was someone I could lay out all my questions in front of and be confident they could tell me precisely how to navigate these challenges but that person doesn’t exist.

And might I say I wish I was the author of the quote just below.

“…In books there’s always somebody standing by ready to say hey, the world’s in danger, evil’s on the rise, but if you’re really quick and take this ring and put it in that volcano over there everything will be fine.

“But in real life that guy never turns up. He’s never there. He’s busy handing out advice in the next universe over. In our world no one ever knows what to do, and everyone’s just as clueless and full of crap as everyone else, and you have to figure it all out by yourself. And even after you’ve figured it out and done it, you’ll never know whether you were right or wrong. You’ll never know if you put the ring in the right volcano, or if things might have gone better if you hadn’t. There’s no answers in the back of the book.”― Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land

That sums it up, doesn’t it. We want to turn to the man/woman/kid and ask for directions to the volcano. We don’t care if we are going to have to fight flying monkeys, orcs or cross the seven seas because we have simple directions to follow.

Take this ring and destroy it and life will be easy, peaceful and magical.

We know it is not going to be easy to destroy the ring. We know it is going to be a struggle but we like it because the ring is tangible and the task is clear.

Sometimes Dad’s Just Don’t Know

The high level mission for dads is to provide for our families and raise children who are of good character and capable of living on their own and contributing to society.

But the way to do that is far more complex and filled with more uncertainty than trying to decide whether to go around the mountains or face the dread in Moria.

I suppose what is really irritating me right now is not having a made a decision about a few things because I just don’t know. Maybe it is because I am so invested in what is happening around me I lack some perspective and maybe I am frustrated because I am dealing with idiots who are make fools look like geniuses.

But this is one of those moments where I feel like I am failing and when it comes to parenting failure isn’t acceptable. It is just not.

It is one of those moments where I expect someone to walk out from behind a curtain and tell me this has all been a joke and they were only kidding.

This moment is one of the reasons why I blog because blogging helps provide clarity. It makes it easy for me to see what it is I think/believe and to lay out reasons why I should or should not do something.

Really, in the moments in which I have been writing this certain things have become more more clear and the resulting clarity has only made me wish that figuring this out was as simple as taking a fucking magic ring over the hill and through the woods to the volcano.

I was built to beat up orcs and kill monsters. I am good at it.

But that is not what is happening now. Instead I am looking at the words my pal Emerson wrote again and again.

Intention and decision work together.

Intention and decision work together.

If I have done my best I should be able to follow these words.

It is done.

It is done.

Most of the time I feel like I do a pretty good job of doing that. Most days I fall into bed know I did all I could do but there are moments where I get frustrated because I feel like my best just wasn’t good enough and pick apart the moments trying to figure out how to do better.

When I fall into the trap of replaying and rethinking what I did or didn’t do I try to remember to follow a different suggestion.

The Cure.

The Cure for what ails you.

A good walk is invaluable. I take them often and usually bring my phone with me because a good storyteller doesn’t rely solely upon memory to find fodder for their tales.

The phone serves as a notepad, camera and assistant muse but that is a tale for a different day.

And now we have reached the end of this particular mental march I feel a bit better than I did when I began but between you and me I still wish it was as simple as destroying a ring.

Oh well, dad operates off of touch and feel as much as anything else because sometimes we just don’t know.

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  1. Larry December 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    This makes me curious as to what is inspiring all of this. I hope you are able to make that journey, choose a path and find your oracle and do the right thing parenting wise.

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