After adoring the photos of our pie-in-the-sky grand-daughter with all the accompanying oohs and aahs, our friend sat back, smiled and looked us straight in the eyes….
"So…how is life different now?" she asked.
My husband and I waxed on about the joy and wonder in seeing your own child parent….. the freedom of enjoying the cuddles, sweet smells and adorableness, then turning the bundle over and heading home for a good night's sleep….the fun of getting out the old toys you've kept all these years …the deep warmth that washes through you when you read her the book her Dad loved.
But part of me knew that though all those were true, there was more --- that wasn't really what was making life feel so much different now. It was so much bigger than that, but I couldn't articulate, or didn't know yet, how to answer any differently.
We settled into the business part of the evening. We were facing some new directions and decisions with our business. At one point our discussion circled back to a pivotal juncture on this career journey - a week long experience in Toronto where the core and driving philosophy behind this practice was birthed. Over twenty five years ago now.
Hanging in the lobby of the Toronto training organization was a picture of a sweet young boy. Under it were these words, "What about Jeremy?" This is what we were to keep in mind throughout the week. To always base our business decisions on what is best for "Jeremy". To value the world we create when we do this. To know that children are watching and wondering and ever so willing to emulate us.
I can no longer remember the specifics of what business decisions we were talking about on that night seven years ago, the direction we were thinking of taking the business, or the financial impacts of those potential decisions, but I clearly recall what happened next, for suddenly, I knew the answer to How is Life Different Now? The lump in my throat and tears that welled up told me so. And there was an urgent call that came with it.
Grandchildren made the "Jeremy" responsibility come screaming to the forefront. How do we fix this world? How do we make it better for our children? How do we create a culture of care and intentionality around what is good and right for children? What are we leaving our grandchildren?
That is my wondering again this week…. as now there are three….living and looking up at us.