What do we take from our parents? What do we leave to our children? I’ve just finished reading Barack Obama’s autobiography, ‘Dreams from my Father’. (Read it, now, if you haven’t already. My baby is completely obsessed with the book – he only needs to see it on the bedside table to start shouting, commando crawl over the duvet and pillows, grab it with both hands and sink his teeth into the cover.)
I’m left wondering what was it in all of Obama’s experience that gave him the courage to dream, the boldness to act and the resilience to make the choices he has? Barack hardly knew his father. Obama Senior did not fulfill his own potential or the expectations of his family. What Barack discovered about him as an adult, must have been disappointing. And yet … dreams from his father? And I note, before the book starts, he says of his mother: “She is the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and what is best in me, I owe to her.”
Watching my funny boy, on his knees at my feet, a pen lid in one hand and his mouth in an ‘oh’ of concentration as he tries to climb the drawers of the desk, I think of everything I want to give him. I wonder what he will choose to take with him as he goes on his way?