All the Clichés About Fatherhood… Are True

So many clichés about parenting are true. One I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is: “The days are long but the years fly by.”

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When my son was a toddler, I remember several older parents coming up to us in public places with a wistful look in their eyes, saying things like, “I remember when my child was that age. They’re so incredibly cute.”

At the time I thought it was a little odd, like, “Don’t you love your teenager, too?”

I now understand what those wistful parents were feeling.

My son turned 18 this year. It really does feel like he was eight just a minute ago. He returned from a trip recently and as my wife and I waited for him at the airport terminal, I watched him walk out amongst a thick crowd of people. I realized with a slight shock that he was head and shoulders taller than almost everyone else. He was a man to everyone else. But he’ll never stop being my son.

I now understand what those wistful parents were feeling. The endless tidal wave of affection you can give a young child fills both your hearts with love and certainty that there is order in the world, that the future is bright and anything is possible.

As my son begins his life as an adult, the monsters are no longer under the bed. The dangers are real. Nothing is guaranteed. Bad things happen to good people every day. He faces challenges and painful life experiences that a kiss on the forehead and an ice cream cone can’t easily fix.

That’s one more reason I am so incredibly grateful to be a Scientologist. I don’t know what kind of parent I would have been if I hadn’t discovered Scientology a few years before my son was born. I know I would have tried my best and I have to think that my infinite love for him would have seen us through. But the tools I’ve learned and use daily regarding life, communication, problem-solving, deciding what’s important and what isn’t worth arguing over, have made me the best possible version of myself, including as a parent.

My son is now studying Scientology as well. His godmother is a highly trained auditor and has taken him under her angelic wing. He has navigated his teenage years with grace and humility and empathy and is entering adulthood with more certainty, integrity and knowledge about life and people than I ever had at his age.

Scientology is a study of life. It’s a symphony of useful information that all comes together harmoniously to present the most straightforward, constructive path through any obstacle and toward any goal. While I can’t wrap my son in a hug that instantly makes all problems disappear anymore—he’s too smart and aware and ambitious to be kept in a bubble, and I would never want that for him anyway—life is an endlessly fun and fascinating game in spite of its challenges, and he’s learning the tools that will allow him to play it at a professional level, regardless of what paths he chooses. That knowledge is a suit of armor I’ve been able to wear and use to create a life I’m proud of. And now he has one, too.

My favorite definition of happiness is from L. Ron Hubbard: “the process of overcoming not unknowable obstacles toward a known goal.” That sums up parenting for me. You’re never sure what problems life is going to serve up, but you can have confidence in your ability to face them head on, understand them and then find the best possible solution. And because you never arrive at your destination, you have to celebrate every step of the journey.

To all the fathers in the world, I think you’d agree that there’s no better or more important job in your life. I hope today you’re able to celebrate your successes, learn from your mistakes, and find workable solutions to any problem you or your children might face along life’s highway. 

Wil Seabrook
Musician, writer, business owner, human rights advocate, aspiring Renaissance Man.