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Happiness is…..

Although the date on this musing is June 16 2008, I write this on Father’s Day June 15. I write my musings a day ahead of the date I post them. For those of you whose minds and opinions lean toward wholesale judgements, you may not wish to waste your time reading further since this musing is tied to an image of a handgun, specifically a Smith and Wesson model 617 a .22 caliber gun.

During the weeks that led up to this Father’s day I would watch with some envy as young children would speak at local markets about the crayon drawings they had crafted to give to their Daddy. I would hear those innocent and sweet comments and lament that my children are no longer that age and it made me miss a time gone by. Both of my children are young adults out of high school and making their way through college before facing the ‘real world’ that lays before them. But today as I spent my favorite holiday with them, I realized that each age a child passes through presents its own wonder to a parent.

I listened as my daughter offered me intelligent banter about my own behavior and marveled at the fact that her choice in life is to assist those who are less fortunate mentally and emotionally than herself. She never speaks of the hollow pursuit of money, but always speaks of what will help humanity. I listened as my son spoke today about resigning from a job he has held for three years to pursue better employment at his other job this summer. He shared that he was concerned that his former boss may have hard feelings because of his resignation, but instead his boss gave him a lifetime membership to where he worked. And he personally signed his membership to my son with his own term of endearment, ‘Little guy’ a name he gave Niko from the beginning since he was the youngest of all his employees.

Both of my kids have teased me for the past week about my Father’s Day gift. At one point my son told me that the gift was ‘a bit expensive’ and I may need to help chip in for the cost. I laughed at his comment and before I could say anything he simply said, ‘But Dad, if you don’t want to, I’ll use some of the money I got for graduation to cover the whole thing.’ I had originally thought that since he works at a toy store, he and his sister purchased me a large remote controlled helicopter that I’ve been drooling over since they got me a small toy one for my birthday.

But instead they both surprised me with a Smith and Wesson Model 617 10 shot .22 caliber stainless steel revolver. My son and I have shot together since he was 14 and he has since become a marksman more skilled than I could have ever hoped to become. The 617 is an item I have always wanted for myself, but never purchased due to other much more important issues like mortgages and tuition. And for many reasons that are often valid, there is a very dark stigma against handguns and in cases of violence, rightfully so. But there is another side of handguns which no one cares to hear. Target shooting is a skill that requires intense discipline and control. The very same kind of discipline and control I learned in martial arts, self control and self discipline.

I am proud of who my children have become and I am proud to say that I am their father. Of all the things in this world I have achieved I am most proud to be a parent. I often laugh when I hear the saying of the Peace Corps, ‘The toughest job you’ll ever love.’ That saying is a far second to being a parent, at least a good honest one.

I’m blessed to be a father.

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