Monday, April 11, 2011
9 1/2 years later
My son Max will graduate from college in one short month. Yes, it seems like about a minute ago that I was posting about how traumatic it was for me when he graduated from high school and headed out to sunny southern California.
Max is trying, as are most college grads, to figure out what's next.
The following is the charge I gave to him on the day he became a Bar Mitzvah. Nine and half years later, it actually still resonates. I sent it to him yesterday.
"Max, you often ask, 'What’s the point?' You get up every morning, eat breakfast, go to school, come home, play guitar, drums, soccer or tennis, talk to your friends, have dinner, work on the computer, do your homework, read and go to bed. Then you wake up and do it all over again the next day…and the next…and the next.
And consider this. Without any thought at all, you also do the following…every 24 hours…over and over again. And these are some really amazing feats:
-every day your heart beats 103,689 times
-your blood travels several miles
-you breathe 23,240 times
-you eat 3 ½ pounds of food
-you speak 4,800 words
-you exercise 7 million brain cells
That’s a lot to cram into one day.
So you’ve always had this nagging question: Why do we do the same things over and over again…what’s the point…where does it all lead?
It has become acceptable and even expected to travel at a fast pace… we each have too much to do – and we do too much too fast. In the middle of it all, I think we tend to forget why we are here. We have 24 hours each day. Are we using them the best way we can?
It takes just one heartbeat to perform an act of compassion. It takes just one breath to say, 'I love you.' It takes less than an ounce of food to energize an act of courage. It takes just a few words to speak a commitment. It takes a fraction of our brain cell capacity to think purposefully about social problems.
Any of these actions could convert a day of your choosing into the greatest day of your life.
Think about it: what is greater than love, stronger than hope, more powerful than an idea whose day has come?
I guess, Max , it’s a matter of timing. Starting tomorrow, you will have a whole day ahead of you. And then another, and then, God willing, another.
If you move slowly and live each moment to its fullest potential, perhaps you will start to realize that… one kind thought can lead to friendship… one good act can help make a better world… one bit of courage can lead to change and justice…one brilliant idea can re-shape society.
Max, you have so much to offer the world. You are a kind, smart, funny, curious and enterprising young man. You are artistic, a good problem solver, a patient and thoughtful friend. This world needs your contributions. Your task is to figure out a way to appreciate these things about yourself… then discover how to continue to share these wonderful attributes with the rest of us, day in and day out.
I think it’s kind of like playing the guitar. When you put the right finger on the right fret at the right time, you can make a beautiful sound…. and maybe even a difference in someone’s life.
Take your time, Max. Make each day… each moment your own sound, and I think that in time you will discover the reason why you are playing."
From Mom on the occasion of your Bar Mitzvah, December, 2001