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"good people"
2005-10-12 - 3:02 p.m.

Yesterday, we were talking in my office about the process of raising children. There are four other people who share the billing office with me on Tuesdays, and all of them have children who are at least teenagers. I learn something from every interaction we have, even if it's what I *don't* want to be as a parent.

Someone mentioned that the best thing we can do is to raise our children to be good people. Everyone else in the office agreed, and I sort of mumbled along, but I thought about it all afternoon. What does that mean--"good people." And is that really all I hope I'll raise Will to be?

Of course I don't want Will to be a "bad person." But what's involved in good? On the way home, longer by way of picking up our vegetables, I thought about what I hope for Will.

I hope he's kind. Generous. Giving. I hope he's intelligent, but more than that, I hope he's happy--the kind of happy that comes from being deeply satisfied with where you are in life. I want him to be ambitious, but not so that his ambition is the focus of his whole being. I hope he's able to live in the moment, and appreciate what he has *right then*. I hope he's loving, in the way that comes from knowing that he's loved. I hope he never--not once, not even for a fraction of a second--doubts that he is loved. I hope he's secure.

I hope he has a good sense of humor, and is able to laugh even at himself when the situation warrants. I hope he's well-read and well-rounded. I hope he's the kind of kid, the kind of adult, who gets the joke. I hope he's experienced enough to be world-wise, but innocent enough to enjoy the wonder of things. I hope he delights in small pleasures. I hope he sees that money is not the most important thing. I hope he can entertain himself, because sometimes all you have is you.

I hope he's gracious. I hope he's well-liked. I hope he's got backbone enough to stand up for what he believes in, but I also hope he knows how to admit he's wrong when he needs to. I hope he knows that it's okay to change your mind. And that it's okay to stand your ground, even if everyone else is on the other side, if you that's *really* where you think you should be.

I hope he's a good cook. I hope he sees that cooking for someone can be anotehr way of saying that you love them. I hope he sees the importance of family, and that he always wants to spend time with his, even if it's not the cool thing to do. I hope he's a good listener, not someone who spends the other person's half of a conversation just waiting to talk. I hope he makes well-educated, well-thought-out, positive decisions. I hope he's a safe driver. I hope he sees the value in doing things for other people even when you get nothing in return but the satisfaction of helping someone else. I hope he experiences that satisfaction.

I guess all of that adds up to "I hope he's a good person." But it truly is so much more than that...

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