Life’s Little Knocks

Yonbon, you are fearless.

Now that’s both a good and a not-so-good thing.

Today at the playground you barrelled down a slide like nobody’s business, you laughed all the way down until you knocked your chin at the end of the ride, and then you cried. But you wanted to do it again so I took you back up, and that’s a great thing.

Later, you hit your forehead on the merry-go-round because you were trying to hold onto the top with your hand and the side rail with your leg. That was a very creative move, but you ended up crying again.

And at the end of your playtime, you climbed up the stairs out of the playground because you saw a dog and you wanted to catch it and put it in your mouth. You climbed and climbed and I was in front of you, watching you and spurring you on, but then suddenly you fell backwards and hit your head on the cold cement slab. I wasn’t quick enough to catch you, and we both cried.

What am I trying to tell you son?

I’m trying to tell you that life will give you little knocks, a lot of them [Life will also give you some big knocks, but we’ll talk about them another time].

You’re brave, determined, and persistent, and so you are going to throw yourself into many things and into many places. Just like I did when I was little. When I was growing up, I broke my nose, twice; my shoulder popped out a few times until it broke; I twisted and sprained both of my ankles. I broke my shin bone [that was very sore]. I’ve been stung by a swarm of wasps on my back and stung by a bee in my eye. I also swallowed two bees that were in my can of soda. I’ve broken fingers and toes; there’s something terribly wrong with my right knee, and I’ve got two slipped disks in my back, probably from a time I jumped over something at University. I’ve cracked ribs, and pulled muscles. I’ve had food poisoning, alcohol poisoning, and I ate some bad mushrooms by mistake once or twice and that wasn’t good either. I’ve got a gash on the side of my head from a surfing accident, which could explain why I’m ‘funny’ sometimes..and I’ve lost a lot of skin off my elbows, knees, thighs and some other places. And I’m not even talking about the gazillion cuts, burns, and bites.

So if you’re anything like me, you’re going to need to take care of your body.

But stay fearless, a lifetime of memories and adventures is worth all the little knocks that come with it.

Love, Dad.

[This message was not endorsed by Your Mother].


A poem to live by


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling