Wednesday, September 17, 1997 by Dave Winer.
One more story (a brief one) before I head off to Crested Butte and the Digital Storytelling conference.
I expect to totally be blown away by the beauty. We're going to tell some great stories. Let's start now.
From www.bible.org, a beautiful statement of love and commitment.
I take you to be my wedded wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.
I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
We pledge our commitment to each other and to our government, but what about kids?
What if there were a ceremony on the birth of a child, in which the parent pledged, in spoken and written words, to love, honor and respect the child, in sickness and in health, till death do us part?
Why don't we do this? Even if the vows were broken, as they so often are, at least the children would know they deserve love and respect. It would never be a question for kids to struggle with. So many kids don't know that they were born with the right to be heard. We could fix that.
It's never too late to tell your children that you love them and to commit to listening to them and really hearing. And commit to telling the truth.
And in speaking and writing these words to our children, we have the opportunity to heal the wounds given to us by our parents.
Perhaps if more adults understood that children require commitment, they wouldn't be so casual about having them.
Children owe their parents nothing other than being who they are. Parents owe children so much more -- protection, nurturing, feeding, support, encouragement.
So many parents, when their children are born, are still children themselves, and try to flip the equation around and get the support and nurturing from their children that their parents didn't give them. This is wrong! At birth, the child is a screaming, cold, love-seeking being. It can give nothing but his or her presence.
As the child grows she can give more of herself. She can create. She can discover and learn. But the only gift the child can give is herself. To ask more from the child is to lose the child.
So I propose a new set of vows, from parent to child, on the birth of the child.
I promise to love, honor and respect you. To protect you from harm, to feed you well. To teach you to live in this world, to the best of my ability. To always speak the truth, directly, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I promise to listen to you. I acknowledge that you're a separate being from me who the universe has trusted me to care for. I didn't create you any more than you created me.
I forgive you now, and always, unconditionally.
You are my son (or daughter). You are not me, you are not my mother or father, you are not who I think you are. I expect to be surprised!
I celebrate your existence every day of my life, with my entire being.
What a great adventure we're sharing.
Let's have fun!
John Lennon wrote a great song about fatherhood, Beautiful Boy.
To his son, he said "Before you cross the street, take my hand." He promises to be with his child on his trip thru life. That's what it's all about.
So many variations are possible!
Scripting News will resume publication on Monday, September 22. Have a great rest of the week and a great weekend. See you on Monday!
PS: More about parenting: The Perfect Parent, 4/9/96.