Well I don’t know how, but you’re a big boy now

My son’s turning 22. Birthday wishes aren’t supposed to come freighted with a dark cloud and although I already had something written up it got scrapped.  I’m keeping the same song though. Written and performed right here by John Sebastian for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1967 film of the same name, with the lyrics below, it’s “Your a Big Boy Now.”  And despite a strong urge to “go there” and use a picture of the kids when they were eight and six, I’m keeping the same picture too.  Not to get all bookish, but  in addition to making a political statement the goals of terrorism, according to Robert A, Schwarz in his “Tools for Transforming Trauma” are to “disconnect people from resourceful positive states of consciousness and to connect them instead to non-resourceful fearful states of consciousness.”  Nope not going there.

While most of us have been or will be exposed to life-threatening situations at some point in our lives, the carnage and destruction that comes with terrorism is truly traumatic, even when we’re not there.  We are wise to avoid the sensationalized pictures and sound bites that come rushing from certain sources, at least after we’ve seen them three or four times.  It’s far better to become educated on the situation by seeking factual information.

It’s also wise to realize that after the disbelief has passed, some semblance of disorientation and grief are sure to follow, as is the eventual need to reassess the world around us, along with our own beliefs, and re-establish life’s true priorities.  All sound familiar? While it’s not always easy to cope with the results of a terrorist act in all its misguided insanity, if we’re able to garner a little resilience we may even discover an opportunity for reflection and personal growth.

By now it’s probably obvious that a sagacious (rather preachy) tack doesn’t come all that naturally, although it’s the one I’ve decided to adopt in order to offer my son some fatherly advice. Of course none of it’s outlandishly new.  In fact it has been unashamedly pilfered from the WWW (I’m certain my sources don’t hold a copyright either)… but at least I’m not saying it was written by Kurt Vonnegut.

  1. Remember that advice is seldom welcome and those who need it most, like it least
  2. Watch a sunrise at least a few times a year
  3. Never take action when you are angry
  4. Make it a habit to say “Thank You”
  5. Make it a habit to say “Please”
  6. Over-tip breakfast waitresses
  7. Look people in the eyes
  8. Compliment three people each day
  9. Live beneath your means
  10. Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards
  11. Treat everyone you meet as you want to be treated
  12. Donate two pints of blood every year
  13. Make new friends but cherish the old ones
  14. Keep secrets
  15. Don’t waste time learning the tricks of the trade. Instead learn the trade
  16. Admit your mistakes
  17. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference
  18. Choose a charity in your community and support it generously with your time and money
  19. Read this nation’s Bill of Rights
  20. Use credit cards only for convenience, never for credit
  21. Give yourself a year and read any great book you have always wanted to read cover to cover
  22. Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover
  23. Learn to listen
  24. Pray not for things but for wisdom and courage
  25. Have good posture
  26. Enter a room with purpose and confidence
  27. Don’t discuss business in elevators
  28. Never pay for work before it’s completed
  29. Be willing to lose a battle in order to win the war
  30. Don’t gossip
  31. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose
  32. When facing a difficult task act as though it is impossible to fail
  33. Don’t spread yourself too thin
  34. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness
  35. Instead of using the word ‘Problem’, try substituting the word ‘Opportunity’
  36. Never walk out on a quarrel with your mate
  37. Regarding furniture and clothes, if you think you will be using them five years or longer, buy the best you can afford
  38. When you look back on your life you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did
  39. Forget committees. New, noble, world-changing ideas always come from one person working alone
  40. Street musicians are a treasure. Stop for a moment and listen, then leave a small donation
  41. When faced with a serious health problem, get at least three medical opinions
  42. Wage war against littering
  43. After encountering inferior service, food or products, bring it to the attention of the person in charge. Good managers will appreciate knowing
  44. Learn to say ‘No’ politely and quickly
  45. Park your car at the end of a row or under a light at the far end of a parking lot
  46. Never get into your car without looking into it first
  47. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all he or she has
  48. Be bold and courageous
  49. Don’t expect life to be fair
  50. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly

You’re a Big Boy Now

I know there’s things you never thought before

That have to do with walkin’ out old doors

You’ve been prepared as long as time allowed

Well I don’t know how

But you’re a big boy now

Come on and take a bow

Cause you’re a big boy now

 You know the girls are taking notice of you

They say your hair is getting curly too

So shave today you’ll shave tomorrow as well

You’re run by you, and not a class-room bell

And I don’t know how

But you’re a big boy now

 And the great big world daddy threw before you

With the pretty faces and the claws that tore you

And it’s all so different when you get to sources

And love will make you strong
 as a team of wild horses

I know there’s things you never thought before

That have to do with walkin’ out old doors

You’ve been prepared as long as time allowed

Well I don’t know how

But you’re a big boy now

Come on and take a bow

Cause you’re a big boy now

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