Arthur Ashe’s time with his daughter was cut tragically short. At the end of his memoir, knowing how little time he had left, he wrote some advice to her that touched on something we have spoken about again and again here at Daily Dad.
“We are being watched by our ancestors, as I am watching you,” he told her. “We possess more than they ever dreamed of having, so we must never let them down.”
We are watched by our ancestors, yes, but we are also, as Bruce Springsteen put it, haunted by their ghosts. Which will you be for your child?
Are you the kind of example they need, have you left the kind of legacy that will protect them? That will guide them? That will inspire them to be decent and disciplined, great and good, as Arthur did for his young daughter? Or will you haunt them with your mistakes, with the pain you inflicted on them, with the things left unsaid or unresolved?
None of us controls how much time we have. None of us control how the future will go. But we do have say over whether we’re an ancestor or a ghost–and we must live (and parent) accordingly.