The Ever Evolving Dad


Evolution is real.   I know there is a giant battle between Christians, non-Christians, and scientists about the age of the earth, whether humans descended from apes, how giraffes got their long necks, or how a big bang put the earth and the other planets into place.  I am a Christian; I believe God created the earth, not some proteins smacked together really hard; and there are some things that just require faith, so I don’t need to know how old the earth is.  Do your own research and come up with your own conclusions.  But that’s not the point I am trying to make.


I am talking about the evolution or progression of people, everyday people like you and I.  I used to be really dumb.  Now I’m only kind of dumb, because I say things without being very informed, mostly regarding politics, and I often don’t plan very well but complain that things didn’t happen the way I would have liked them to.  And when I say “I used to be” I mean when I was a teenager.  I think anyone now in their 30s or older would look back at their teenage years and ask “What was I thinking?” or maybe even “Why didn’t I think that one through?”


Well, this became apparent at Thanksgiving dinner.  First, earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, I put up the Christmas lights on the house with Zoey’s help, who is 5 and a half.  I was wrapping lights around a palm tree by collapsing the ladder and leaning it against the tree.  I let Zoey climb the ladder and put up some other lights on the house, and now she asked me to do the tree ones.  I said no because the ladder was not stable.  She was bummed, but I told her maybe next year because then she’ll be 6 and a half, which is close to 7, which is probably old enough with my help.  That’s when it hit me that Tasha’s cousin, who is now a senior in high school, was 8 when Tasha and I met.  And now Zoey is not that far away from that age.


Wow.  Mind blown a little on how time flies.


So at Thanksgiving dinner, the “kids” table happened to be Tasha, myself, Tasha’s cousins-the one I just mentioned and his younger sister who is a sophomore in high school-and some of their friends who are in high school, too, complain and moan about dumb teachers who are so boring, or don’t have lives, or make homework hard, or classmates who are dumb and spoiled.  It was a riveting and scintillating conversation to hear.  I was trying to be enlightened and watch Jay Cutler and the Bears get creamed by Clay Mathews and the Packers, but, alas, the Bears prevailed spoiling Brett Favre’s jersey retirement.


But I digress.  I also got to hear Tasha’s cousin “spit bars” and say he was going to skip college, make a mixtape with his friends and become a rapper.  I told him to Google Chet Hayes, who is Tom Hanks’ son who thinks he, too, can be a rapper.  He and Tasha’s cousin might have a chance of being a wrapper, gift wrapper that is.  Ha Ha ha!  I’ll be here all week!  Good luck, kid.


But wait a minute!  I was 15, 16, and 17 once.  Maybe I was like that too with, seemingly, absurd career aspirations?  Nah!  Or was I?


I was, and I realized that as I sat there listening to these teenagers ramble on about their classmates and teachers.  It’d be interesting to see in 10-15 years after a couple of more years under their belts having lived life away from home, hopefully, and possibly having started their first job, maybe started a family of their own, or, the ultimate burn, they are teachers themselves.  They might be thinking reading this (I doubt they’re reading this), “No way, man.  No way am I going to be a boring teacher.  I’m going to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer, or something cool.”  Yup.  Life is that simple.


Comedian Nick Swarsdon has a bit talking about what would happen if people had to become the very first thing they thought of to be when they grew up.  He says it would be crazy because there would be ninjas, princesses, and race car drivers running the world.  You can look up his stand up on YouTube on your own.  It isn’t exactly family friendly, so I am not going to post a link.


Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being doctors, lawyers, or engineers, or ninjas, princesses, and race car drivers, for that matter.  And there is nothing wrong with dreaming to be any of those things, even rappers.  I remember being that age and having that perspective.  I think about that often when I talk to Tasha’s cousins:  that it wasn’t all that long ago that I dreamed similar dreams for my career, or had a similar perspective on my teachers, or had every word to say about my classmates.  In fact, I have every word to say about a couple of my coworkers without having the perspective of their point of view or taking any time to get to know them or walk in their shoes.  And when I was in high school, I didn’t want to be a rapper, but there was a period of time I wanted to be and thought I could be a professional snowboarder without putting in 10,000 hours.  Maybe not as far-fetched, but just as unlikely.  Possible but not probable, as a professor of mine would say.


Life is a process and a journey.  I hope this isn’t the first place you hear that the best part of life isn’t the destination but the process and the journey of finding out who you are.  I went to college with the aspirations of becoming a dentist.  I’m glad that didn’t work out.  I would probably have been okay at the dental work part, but the part of working with patients and the part of trying to get them to do the work they needed to be healthy would drive me crazy.  I would probably take it too personal and drill a little too hard.  It also wasn’t too long ago I thought about getting my Ph.D.  I’m glad that also didn’t work out.


So this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for personal growth, that it’s possible, that there’s a choice we can all make.  We all can choose to evolve with our circumstances or not.  Roll with the punches.  That in all aspects of life-mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual-we are all in process learning and, hopefully, learning from each other how to be human.

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