Do It While You Can

We all feel a little self-conscious about it. Our kids don’t behave as well as we’d like. They make a mess. They make an incredible amount of noise. Perhaps this is why we keep them at home, why we’re always apologizing, preparing people in advance for the hurricane that may or may not come through. Maybe some of us fear being overshadowed by our kids or judged for having them with us—that it will undermine our image as professionals.

Abraham Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon often complained about Lincoln’s “brats,” which Lincoln insisted on bringing with him to work from time to time. They pulled books off the shelf, they rifled through papers. He suspected they were peeing on the rug too.

But you know what? Lincoln brought them anyway. He wanted his kids to see him work, as we’ve said a parent must do. He wanted to spend time with them and this was a way to do it. He refused to be embarrassed. He did his best to contain them, sure, but he also accepted that this is what kids do and always have done.

And it’s good that Lincoln took this time. He would bury two of his boys. He himself would be killed at age 56.

None of us know how long we have, none of us should allow fear of what other people think, or the potential spectacle of a tantrum or an incident deprive us of moments we could get to spend together. Don’t be embarrassed.

Don’t apologize. Do your best to clean up, to teach them how to behave, but bring the brats with you. You won’t regret it in the long run…even if on occasion you do.

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