Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Son's Day

This blog might be a bit sentimental, as yesterday was my first Father's Day. I made a video about some of my thoughts as Citizen Prime. Take a look if you'd like. I hope that video gives you something to think about. This blog is really the next level down, or rather, some thoughts that didn't translate well to video.

Like every person on the planet, I find fatherhood an interesting transition – you go from a "do-whatever-I-want" adult, to a "okay, now you really have responsibility" father. Father's Day is a good day to reflect on that transition for us new dads, even superhero dads.

As Citizen Prime, I end up talking to a number of great people and others often leave me comments about what I say and do. It might be interesting to note that I really do consider each and every thought, good or bad. Sometimes I respond, sometimes I think it best not to, but occasionally one of them stays with me for a bit. This happened yesterday. An RLSH ally called JabbaJaw responded to my video and said, "As for our reasons for fighting the good fight, I've always looked at my son as one of primary points of motivation when it comes to making this a safer world for him to grow up in." Very insightful and, I would hope, a fairly universal sentiment. Yet, people can't really know what it means to be a father until they … know what it means to be a father.

See, it's its own experience. It's like tasting Salt. You really can't describe it. You have to experience it. Or to put it better, an author named Kent Nerburn wrote, "Until you have a son of your own, you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to be." Pretty heady stuff, and every word of it is uncannily true.

This brings me to being Citizen Prime and father, at the same time. Prime consists of so many elements and as people take this RLSH thing in their own directions (some of which I've tried), I see a common thread as people mature and settle into it. That thread is positive action. Think about the journey of a community crusader like yin and yang. For those who have never really considered the Eastern concept of yin and yang (translated as earth and heaven), it describes two opposing and, cooperative halves of any one idea. To that point, while I primarily focus on the good mankind can do and the heroic impulses that lie inside each of us, others don the cape and cowl and focus on avenging wrongs and taking a bite out of crime. I think both aspects serve a greater purpose and we should all do a little of both.

I, myself, search for ways to address both elements. While my current mission as Citizen Prime would be hampered by more vigilante type activities, my alter ego does seek the "Yang" in the equation. For example, I'm making inroads with the local police to volunteer as a part time Citizen Officer. It's a ironic direction, but a logical one for me, as people ask me, "Why don't you just become a cop!?" To their point, police collar far more criminals that the RLSH community ever will. But my mission is different. The police are a cog in the wheel of justice. A brave, honorable cog but they enforce laws and capture crooks ... they don't usually change hearts and minds. That's my job, and I hope it's yours.

This evening I was watching Bones while grabbing a quick bite. They started talking about Love being the only true revolutionary idea. It made me think that the concepts around Prime are like that. I strive to be that Yin in a world of Yang; that force through which, I believe, the world will be a better place. Violence usually begets violence, but Love, whether for a person, people or ideal, is a creative force, and I think it's the Yin that will survive, long after our Yang exhausts itself in struggle. In fact, Yin, or Love, is the fuel of the fire inside the heart of true heroes. In fact, considering that Love created my son, I come to the inexorable conclusion that it was central in creating Citizen Prime.

So, when people give me "that look" and ask me why I'm doing this, I smile and think of my son. I think of my desire to be more than I am, for him, and I hope to pass onto him a world better than I found it. I also consider this my daily sacrament for the sins of my past, so that I can be a better man – for him. While all this culminates on Father's Day, I guess, in my case, it should really be called Son's Day because for me, it's about preparing the way for him to lead a better life. So, happy Son's Day, my boy. Happy Son's Day.