I get by with a little help from my friends

November 06,2008
Skaddadle
Todd Lieman( )
While I’m tremendously happy that the election is over (and still tremendously disappointed in my home state), it brought up a world (literally?) of issues, thoughts and (obviously) commentary. And while we were mired in debates (and mudslinging) about war, the economy, healthcare, education and experience, I kept thinking about parenting. I kept thinking about K-Man. What kind of a world is he going to grow up in?

When I was 14 or 15, I wrote a speech for a confirmation school class about nuclear war. It was the topic du jour during the Cold War, and my friends and I would talk about whether or not someone would ultimately push the button. As I got a bit older, the conversations obviously changed, but they, from time to time, continued to question not so much what kind of world we were growing up in, but what kind of world our future kids might grow up in.

There were those times when I actually said that I wouldn’t “want to bring a kid into this world” (whatever world that was at the time). And, I meant it. Sure, I was nowhere near ready to have a kid at the times those words were uttered, but I meant it, anyway.

But, as I have watched the global happenings these last few years and (like everyone else) couldn’t help but follow the long, long, long presidential campaign, it has become apparent to me that the world is scary. Period. It doesn’t matter if it’s then, now or the future. The world is scary. There are always going to be those times that feel scarier, but the fact is, it’s scary. It’s my job, then, to simply help K-Man navigate the potholes and pitfalls that will stand in the way of whatever path he takes. It’s not my job to make sure he misses all of them – just my job to help him navigate them.

But that’s not even where I’m going. That was just the start of this twisted road I’ve mentally traveled in the last 48 hours.

Strangely enough, I had another thought about all of this stuff while checking out my friends on Facebook (which made the election that much more interesting and communal). It’s not that I want to get all cheesy, corny and lame. But after reconnecting with so many people recently (which makes me want to reconnect with so many others, too – I’ve searched for some interesting blasts from the past), I couldn’t help but channel my inner Billy Shears: I get by with a little help from my friends.

I really started thinking about this. Where would I be without my friends? And then my business partner told me about a morning spent at his daughters’ school recently. He said the highlight of the morning was watching the girls play with their friends. Exactly. When I drop K-Man off at school, I like to watch him run around the yard with his friends. And, nothing makes me feel better than hearing the other kids call him when he enters the yard (not unlike a toddler version of “Norm!” of Cheers fame).

When we are faced with adversity – we call our friends. And, where we’re faced with especially trying situations, we discover who our closest friends are by the first calls we make. They aren’t always the people we speak with the most often. Sometimes, they are those long, not-quite-lost friends that we’ve rediscovered on Facebook. Or the ones that we just know are always there for the most important occasions.

It just occurs to me that the world will keep being scary. As long as we surround ourselves with great people, people who understand us at our core (and vice versa), we’ll all end up okay. There’s so much for me to teach K-Man. G-d knows I’ve written enough about teaching him to follow his passions. But, maybe there’s something even more important. Teaching him how to honor and respect his friends. Teaching him how to reach out for help when he struggles. And teaching him that friendship is perhaps the greatest gift he can ever receive or offer.

I know it’s not any kind of groundbreaking thought: Friends are great. But, maybe we sometimes forget? Maybe we sometimes take them for granted. I don’t know. The election made me think about how scary the world is and how I just want to protect K-Man. We can’t do it alone…