Who is Teaching Whom? A New Father Reflects on 10 Months

Emily Dickinson once wrote: “Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind.”

Gradually, the truth has begun to dawn on me that my 10 month old son lives a much healthier lifestyle than I do.

Take for instance Mendon’s diet. He eats only organic fruits and vegetables. These delicious and wholesome purees are painstakingly prepared by his doting mother several days in advance. Dinner is served at the same time everyday, and he eats breakfast and lunch on a clockwork schedule as well.

Regarding sleep, he has a strict bedtime that is rarely upended or deviated from. Come 7:00 pm, he is in bed drifting away to soothing instrumentals on Pandora. Come 7:00 am, he is up and ready to greet the day with a Brooklyn Bridge wide smile.

What is more, he has absolutely no drugs or alcohol in his system. He does not take prescription medicine, and he has no need for mood altering substances. His system is chemical free, pure of all intoxicants, and fueled by nature’s balanced allotment of serotonin.

He takes one step at a time. He has nowhere to go in particular, so everywhere he crawls is where he wants to be.

He always makes time for play. He laughs at the simplest things. He adores animals; and other children thrill him.

He has no politics. He says what he feels and feels what he says. He sees everyone through an unbiased lens, and he embodies the noblest characteristics of humility, acceptance, and carelessness. To put it succinctly: he is happy.

So who is teaching whom? Who is modeling how to live? Who is the real mentor in this relationship? I doubt very much that it is I who am doing the majority of the teaching.

When I consider our two lives in contrast, I see that he is the model and I am the pupil. For why am I so often hampered by anxiety and discontentment? Why am I so often preoccupied with tomorrow while today slips away untended and untried? Why do I drink to take the edge off? Why do I smoke to relax? Why do I not play with animals more? Why do I not laugh just for the fun of it more? Why do I stay up past midnight? Why do I eat processed foods? Why do I watch so much TV? Why do I listen to others at the expense of my own intuition? Why do I so often perceive people through the lens of my own fear and judgement?

Yes, indeed. Who is teaching whom?

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