See If They Can Understand This

You probably heard the story of the ugly duckling growing up. Or perhaps you remember the story of Solon and Croesus. Both stories—one about a duckling and the other about a very rich man—have the same moral: That time has a way of evening things out. It can turn you into a beautiful swan… or it can strip you of all your winnings. They teach us that we shouldn’t be too sure of our success or our struggles because these states are often much more transitory than it can feel at the time. 

As a parent, you’ve seen this play out in your own life. The captain of the football team might not be doing so well all these years later. Meanwhile, the nerd might have gone on to start a world-changing company. Or perhaps the nerd you were later jealous of… ended up going bankrupt or getting cheated on or being indicted. Think of what you used to think of yourself, what you were convinced of, or what you were worried about, and how silly all that seems now. You should have just waited. You should have trusted that it would work out. 

This is a lesson that parents have tried to teach their kids for centuries. That’s why we have all those stories and fables about it. Not very successfully, of course, because it’s so hard. Experience teaches wisdom in a way that mere words simply cannot. 

But still we have to try. Because one day our words will intersect perfectly with their experiences and it will all make sense. Just as it did for you.

P.S. This was originally sent on July 6, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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