A close friend and his wife are having their first child. I decided to write a guide to life for the new human. I’ll give them a chapter a year for their first 18 years unless I end up disappearing before I can complete that. If I do, hopefully someone else will pick up the baton…
Kindness is hard but kindness pays off.
You will find as you grow older that life’s challenges but the rewards do too.
In your first year, the time I wrote this essay, you were just becoming a thinking creature.
At first, you were a bundle of needs – you were hungry, thirsty, happy, angry and confused, all in quick flashes. All you knew was that you needed your mum and dad a lot. Your mum especially.
Your parents were kind people to begin with, but your arrival only heightened that. They will do anything for you. You will sometimes take that for granted. We all do that sometimes.
Your parents’ love is like a heat lamp, comforting when you’re desperate for warmth but occasionally stifling when the heat of the world is intense.
Just try to be kind to your mum and dad above all. They want the best for you even when they don’t come up with the right answer or perhaps just one you like.
More than any other advice, do no harm is a very good place to start from. When you have hurt someone, apologise.
Sometimes apologising for the way you have made someone feel is the best thing you can do.
Remember though, you can only do your best and everyone has their own story to live through.
Some people seem very cruel or unkind but are just like you when you were that bundle of needs as a baby – their emotions are too much for them.
I have very little patience. I get grumpy. You might already know that – presuming I’m still around – but I care about you, your mum and dad and all my friends. Caring goes a long way.
The Beatles closed out their recorded output with a snippet song called ‘The End’. It sums up what I need you to know in an obscenely small number of words: “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Put positive things into the world whenever you can. Try to see why other people might be struggling but never, never, never allow them to make you feel you are a bad person.
You are a product of many things – your environment, your schooling, your friends – but most of all, you are a product of love.
Your parents love each other so much they wanted to create you and give you a life even better than their own.
Everyone was so excited to hear you were on your way and it’s only got better since. Take that joy and love and spread it far and wide.