Monday, October 01, 2012

A Work In Progress

An imagined conversation with my 3-month old son, some undetermined number of years in the future:

Him: Why did you become a reporter?

Me: Long story

Him: So...

Me: You want to hear a long story?

Him: Yes

Me: Well, I'll summarize. Basically, I wanted to write for a living.

Him: Why?

Me: Because I'm good at it. And it's fun to have people read what you've written.

Him: But why be a reporter?

Me: I wasn't sure at first. But it turns out that I like getting to learn for a living. The different subjects I can write about are basically unlimited. And I get to go places I'd have no other reason to go and talk to people I'd have no other reason to talk to. And tell their stories.

Him: Do you make a lot of money?

Me: No

Him: Isn't that important?

Me: Not to me

Him: Why?

Me: Because money can't buy you happiness. We need money to live. But money does not equal success.

Him: That's not what Todd's father says.

Me: Todd's father is an idiot.

His mother (listening from the other room): Um, hello!

Me: Sorry. What does Todd's father say?

Him: He says you can tell who is successful by the car they drive.

Me: Uh-huh

Him: Well, is he right?

Me: No

Him: Why?

Me: Well, I say you can tell who is successful in part by how they judge success. Some people treat life as a game where the winner accumulates the most stuff.

Him: What does...ak-yoo-moo-mates mean?

Me: Accumulate. It means to gather. Some people measure success by the size of their wallet. Other people measure it by how much they give to other people.

Him: How do you you measure it?

Me: I try not to.

Him: Dad!

Me: I'd like to think a successful person has given more of himself than he takes from others.

Him: Do you give more of yourself than you take from others?

Me: Not really.

Him: Does this mean you're not successful?

Me: Possibly. I like to think I'm a work in progress.

Him: What does that mean?

Me: It means I can still get better.

Him: (inaudible)

Me: I also think you can measure success by raising good, smart, responsible children. And creating a family that revolves around love and an appreciation for the little things in life.

Him: What things?

Me: Like the quiet of a rainy weekend morning, telling a funny joke, playing sports, eating a great meal, singing a song, reading a good book, making a strong argument, hugging someone you love. And you know what else?

Him: What?

Me: Conversations like this.

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