What Is Your Greatest Hope For Your Children?

08/16/2012 By Shawn Burns

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I was asked, on a questionnaire, about my greatest hope for my children. I filled in the space, thinking the whole time that this question was a waste of time. What is my greatest hope for them? “That they are happy,” I say, in a smarmy voice, mocking the question. “That they are healthy,” I offer, in the same voice. What is my greatest hope for them? I don’t know. I don’t have a greatest hope for them.

I do have many, many everyday sorts of hopes for them. I hope they don’t smoke. I hope they don’t hurt themselves with drugs, or alcohol. I hope they navigate cruel relationships with resilience. I hope they fail well. I hope they love more things than they hate. I hope they think well of me when they are older. I hope they respect me while they are younger. I hope they respect their bodies; I hope they don’t get vain in their teens. I hope they aren’t cruel. I hope they are loved. I hope they are interesting. I hope they are confident. I hope they are resilient.

I hope if one of them does something remarkable that the other will do some remarking. I hope if one of them does something amazing that the other will be amazed. I hope they love each other for the rest of their lives.

I hope they visit on weekends, in summers, at Christmas and for our birthdays. I hope they love to travel.

I hope they earn their lives before spending them.

These are my hopes. Not one is my greatest hope. I’m always hoping.