You’ll Want Them Close

John Jay O’Connor III grew up in San Francisco. His family was local royalty. He went to college at Stanford, just down the road and returned there for law school as well. So how did the O’Connor’s end up in Phoenix? It wasn’t because he wanted to be close to his new wife, Sandra Day O’Connor’s family—who lived as far east as one could get in Arizona, on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. It certainly wasn’t because Phoenix was a bustling metropolis of culture—not in the late 1950s anyway.

The answer was simple. He didn’t want to be very close to his family. “My mother was a very critical woman,” he later reflected, “and I did not want to listen to her time and again.”

We all want great things for our children…but most of all, we’re going to want, especially when we’re older, for them to be close to us. How can we increase our chances of that? How can we do our best to ensure that lovely, crowded table we’ve talked about before?

By being pleasant to be around. By not making our anxieties and fears their problem. By loving them as much as we push them. By helping them be who they are…not what we think they should be. By asking ourselves, everytime we feel like criticizing or judging or starting an argument, “Is this worth what I am about to withdraw from our relationship?” By putting them first…but not putting everything on them.

You’re going to want them to be close. Nothing can guarantee that, but not driving them away is a good place to start.

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