We celebrate International Men’s Day on Saturday 19 November 2016, but the next day, on 20 November 2016, we celebrate World Children’s Day. If you ask me which day is the greater I would say the second one because as Roland Leonhardt said, “Children bring us a piece of heaven on earth”. If you don’t trust Roland maybe you might listen to Carl Sandburg words of wisdom when he said, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
It is so easy to forget that you and I were once children. Perhaps we are still children trying to be men. The journey to manhood seems never ending and full of responsibility. If you are anything like me, you probably hate responsibility. I loved being a child and in many ways resented having to grow up. Some would argue that I still haven’t. As Charles Dickens says in his brilliant analysis of the life of a man called “The Child’s Story” (complete story reprinted in Special Feature and Grandfathers):
Once upon a time, a good many years ago, there was a traveller, and he set out upon a journey. It was a magic journey, and was to seem very long when he began it, and very short when he got half way through.
He travelled along a rather dark path for some little time, without meeting anything, until at last he came to a beautiful child. So he said to the child, “What do you do here?” And the child said, “I am always at play. Come and play with me!”
So, he played with that child, the whole day long, and they were very merry. The sky was so blue, the sun was so bright, the water was so sparkling, the leaves were so green, the flowers were so lovely, and they heard such singing-birds and saw so many butteries, that everything was beautiful.
This was in fine weather. When it rained, they loved to watch the falling drops, and to smell the fresh scents. When it blew, it was delightful to listen to the wind, and fancy what it said, as it came rushing from its home – where was that, they wondered! -whistling and howling, driving the clouds before it, bending the trees, rumbling in the chimneys, shaking the house, and making the sea roar in fury. But, when it snowed, that was best of all; for, they liked nothing so well as to look up at the white flakes falling fast and thick, like down from the breasts of millions of white birds; and to see how smooth and deep the drift was; and to listen to the hush upon the paths and roads.
They had plenty of the finest toys in the world, and the most astonishing picture-books: all about scimitars and slippers and turbans, and dwarfs and giants and genii and fairies, and blue-beards and bean-stalks and riches and caverns and forests and Valentines and Orsons: and all new and all true.
But, one day, of a sudden, the traveller lost the child. He called to him over and over again, but got no answer . . .
Like the traveller, we all lose the child and even though we call out to him over and over again he does not answer, well not immediately anyway.
In many ways our lives as adults are spent regaining our ability to be child-like whilst carrying responsibility. Albert Einstein said, “People do not grow old no matter how long we live. We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born”. Jesus said to the crowds around him, “You will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you become like a child”.
So while we must enter manhood and accept the responsibility and sacrifices that come with it, we must not forget the “rock from which we have been hewn”. As Einstein also said so eloquently, “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives”.
Our children are our future.
Maybe we should take some inspiration from Heraclitus who said, “Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.”
Celebrate International Men’s Day this coming Saturday, 19 November 2016. Get together with a few friends. Have a few drinks or have a coffee together, better still a barbeque.
International Mens Day Message from War wick Marsh
The theme for this year is Stop Male Suicide. The best way to stop male Suicide is to Learn, Love and Listen to your friends and make friends. That’s why I said invite some mates to get together with you and reach out to someone who doesn’t have a friend at the same time and include them in your circle of friends. Robe rt Louis Stevenson was right to say, “No man is useless while he has a friend.”
Remember sometime during the day to give your children a hug and tell them that the future really is in their hands and that you are committed to building a better world with them, and for them.
Yours for celebrating International Men’s Day
PS.Please see the top 25 winners of our Dads4Kids Instagram Competition at the link. During next week, we announce the top ten and in the next edition of Dads4Kids we announce the winner. Thank you for your patience.