There are brief moments where you get a glimpse inside your kid’s soul. When they meet their baby brother or sister for the first time and start to cry because of how much love they feel. When they say something truthful and real in a way that adults would never dare. When they offer to share what little they have with somebody else, without any prompting from you.
It’s in these moments that you get the sense that humans are born with inherent goodness. It’s not something we are just taught. It’s a gift that comes to us at birth. There is purity there. Innocence. And yet, as a grown up, you’ve seen enough of the world to know that most people are no longer innocent and pure and good.
So what does that mean? It means your job as a dad is to protect and encourage and nurture that goodness. In Cormac McCarthy’s haunting novel, The Road, he calls this “the fire.” A dad’s job is to help their child carry the fire, to keep them safe long enough that this goodness can pass onto the next generation, and that hope and light can remain in this dark world a little longer.
That’s what you have to do today and every day. Help them carry the fire. Protect the gift. Pass on the light.