Optimism, It’s Our Only Choice!

father and infantThis past week, I was at a political event that was disguised as a holiday party, or maybe it was a holiday party disguised as a political event, but either way I found myself elbow to elbow with candidates running for office and the political operatives who wage the battles and stage the campaigns.

It was against this background that I found myself talking with a candidate for citywide office who had just welcomed a newborn child into his home two weeks ago. Surrounded by the din of political aspirations and machinations, we ended up comparing notes on our experiences with the nocturnal feeding habits of our infants, firmly putting the travails of the world in perspective.

As I traded “new father” anecdotes with one of the most powerful men in Los Angeles, I realized that our experiences contained within them the lessons that could move LA forward.

Here are five things I’ve learned as the proud father of a newborn baby boy:

  • Pay Attention: A heightened state of awareness can be an exhausting experience, but it actually results in greater energy and productivity. “More effort takes less effort” may seem counterproductive but it works!
  • Keep Close: Babies raised in cultures that favor contact over separation cry less. It’s true no matter how old we are, social connections are the key to happiness.
  • Give Thanks: To hold a newborn baby is to hold the powerful of thankfulness. I count my blessings as I look as his perfection and as I experience the support of our community of friends and family.
  • Keep Moving: Nothing brings a smile like going for a walk, even if it’s just a small journey around the neighborhood, and it’s a reminder that we were born for action.
  • Be Positive: Our energy is contagious and to see a baby mimic our attitudes and emotions is to experience the incredible responsibility that demands our optimism. After all, it’s our only choice, that and then delivering on our promise to make it come true.

stephen boxAs for the party, I’m sure the food was good and that lots of good work was done, but from where I stood, it all faded into the background as two fathers slowed down, just for a moment, and connected with the power of optimism and its place in our immediate future.

Stephen Box


  1. says

    My children are all grown up now but I do recall those magical times of wonder when they were infants. It makes me feel so good that they are such loving people today. I take it to mean that with all of my self doubt about being a good parent, something must have been right. All five of them are very popular and well liked. Strangers will approach me and ask if I am the father of one of them and then proceed to tell me what a wonderful person my son or daughter is and how happy they are to know them. Since birth, I have always given them and shown them my love and never stopped telling them I love them. It has never been easy but I am proud of them and happy with who they are. Many things have changed about them over the years but as a parent I find that, metaphorically, I still have to deal with their piss and shit.

    • -Nate says

      I’m pleased to hear of this . I too get the same sort of comments , it helps with my worries about not having been as good a father as I could have…..


  2. -Nate says

    I’d like to add that it’s most important to always remember : you are your Child’s _Parent_ not thier freind .

    I never lost sight of this as I raised my now 32 Y.O. son , his mother who didn’t get this simple idea , bugged out when he was 12 , leaving me to raise a male child in The Ghetto , across the street from a crack house .

    I am happy to annonce he doesn’t do drugs , never joined any gang , nor brought me any bastards , he works hard and is *very* responsible as well as being well liked in work as well as his personal life .

    He was a 4.0 GPA student through High School and the two years of College .

    He now is buying a house , has a good career and got married .

    We still greatly enjoy spending time to – gether , he not so much with his Mother who tried to buy his love and never disciplined him nor said ” NO ” ~ ever .

    Not bad for an uneducated Blue Collar working schmoe ~ anyone can do this , you just have to apply yourself .


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