Learning To Love Life

Learning to Love Life

Today we got up and headed for the kitchen to make a bowl of fresh berries and a fruit smoothie topped with coconut whipped cream.

We put them on a tray with a homemade vegan blueberry muffin and headed to our oldest son JJ’s room along with his siblings. For the past 17 years, all his birthdays have begun with us serving him breakfast in bed.

Once he’d eaten and opened his presents, JJ said it was our turn. He proceeded to surprise us with three poems – one for his four siblings and one each for his Mom and me. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

As you can tell, today’s blog post is different from my usual. I’m putting it in the Vegan Life category, but Life is the operative word. It has nothing to do with being plant-based, and everything to do with life.

When we got married, my wife and I set a simple child-raising goal: To be our children’s best friends by the time they reached 18. We’d make every effort to spend their childhoods learning, loving, and working toward this life mission.

Since JJ’s 2003 birth, I haven’t spent a day without this goal in the back of my mind. Our original idea will culminate on his 18th birthday next year. And somehow, we’re still on track!

How do I know?

Because when I told JJ a couple of months ago that when he and his siblings are grown, I might write a book about parenting.

He responded enthusiastically:

“I really want to read that book! I need to learn how you did it, because you and mom have been amazing.”

I thought it was pretty nice of my first-born to overlook 17 years of me figuring out how to parent. I’ve made my share of mistakes, especially with him. So his positive feedback encouraged my dream of a future parenting book.

But then hit me: I’ve been waiting for all my kids to be grown and on their own because right now, I’m far from an expert on parenting. What if I didn’t wait?

What if I write about what I’m learning, while I’m learning it? That’s been my approach to this blog – and it’s one inspired by a passage from Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work:

“We’re all terrified of being revealed as amateurs, but in fact, today it is the amateur – the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love (in French, the word [enthusiast] means ‘lover’), regardless of fame, money, or career – who often has the advantage over the professional.”

Amateurs don’t fear public ridicule or making mistakes. They’re in love, so they dive headlong into work others consider silly or just plain stupid. What they lack in formal training, they make up for with lifelong learning.

Think about what you want to learn and make a commitment to learning it in front of others. There’s no better way to start on the path to sharing your work!

So, instead of waiting to write a future book on parenting, my plan is to start a here-and-now blog. Check out LearnLoveLife.com (LLL), my experiences in learning to love life with this simple parenting strategy:

From baby to best friend in 18 years.

Maintaining two daily blogs and a business is a stretch, so (with the help of my family) I’ll strive for a weekly LLL post for the time being.

Tomorrow’s post will be the first, so don’t miss it. And tonight, our family will be celebrating the new adventure over JJ’s favorite birthday dinner, rice and beans with veggie toppings!

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