My father was 50 when I was born. I am 49 and holding. I was raised in the decadent 80s. He was raised in the Depression and WWII. He called the Beatles “that strange new band.” He couldn’t figure out how to “work” my boom box, but it was always too loud. He “listened” to the television. He couldn’t deal with how our generation’s songs were “nonsense.” And he always thought that we were under-whelmed, under involved, apathetic. His family stood in line for bread. They worked no matter what and were thankful for a job. He raised me in one of the wealthiest places in the world, and always came home every night, took a loop around our house, came in, wiped his leather winged tipped shoes off from his cross Loop commute from Chicago, and then to train to suburban Lake Forest, to our lovely home and said, “We are so lucky,” kissing my mom, carrying me up to his room where he changed, Mr. Rogers style, into his nighttime, still gentleman, clothes. I wanted to be him. I wanted that gratitude and grace.
He served in WWII. He said things that felt old fashioned when I was a kid. Now I understand them.
Write when you get work.
This means: Connect. Connect with your loved ones. Don’t lose the people who love you. The responsibility is yours. Take it. Your loved ones want you to be happy out there. And they also want to welcome you home. Especially when you are home inside yourself. P.s. Read about the Heroes’ Journey!
Don’t you know there’s a war going on?
This means: Be mindful. There’s a lot happening that you don’t understand. Learn from it. Don’t put your head in the sand.
See you in the funny papers.
This means: Don’t forget to have some fun. Life will always deal challenges. Doesn’t meant you can’t laugh. And…when you laugh…you invite people to meet you in humor. There’s plenty of pain in this human existence. So we might as well laugh.
Let’s rent a barn and put on a show.
This means: Bring some beloved people along for the ride. Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland would be a good place to start.
The problem with your generation is you haven’t had a proper war.
This means: Care about the conflicts in your world. Just care. Do something about trying to resolve them. Don’t be a victim. Be a game changer.
Your three minutes are up.
This means: Don’t squander your time having false communication. (he had no understanding of the world of texts, FB messages, emails etc. The 0perator came on after 3 minutes and you had to pay more or get off the phone.) Make communication count.
Do you know how lucky we are?
This means: well you fill in the blanks. In his case it was this: He came from a hard working mid-western family. He found financial success. He loved his family. He loved his job. He was grateful every day. How can you find this too? See above.
Thanks, Dad. You taught me so much about how to be a good person, and serve, like you served. Veteran’s day and much much more. Love, Laura