Nobody wants to think about this. We love our kids too much. We love our lives too much. We have too much to do.
But we have to stop. We have to stop and think about this unpleasant fact: We will not be here forever. Nobody will be.
The great Robert Southwell poem is a haunting reminder to all parents:
My ancestors are turned to clay,
And many of my mates are gone ;
My youngers daily drop away,
And can I think to ‘scape alone?
No, no, I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.
Do you parent according to this idea of memento mori or, if you were being totally honest with yourself, are you more like Southwell? Are you in denial, struggling to accept the only fact that matters and to amend your life accordingly?
When you wake up each morning, when you walk through the front door each night, forget what you’re bothered about at work. Forget what is happening on the news. Forget what you and your spouse are fighting about. Be with your kids. Be with your family. Be with them now.
Life is short. Your family is what matters. Your kids are what matters. So forget all the things you’d like to do “someday.” Do them with your kids now.
In case you missed it, Ryan Holiday’s new book, The Boy Who Would Be King, is available for preorder now! It’s the story of a young Marcus Aurelius and how he became one of the wisest and most virtuous leaders in history. Comes with a free audiobook if you preorder now. Learn more here.