Today is the 10th anniversary of the horror that was 9/11. On this day a decade ago, many people didn’t know it, but they had said the last words they would ever say to their loved ones, friends and acquaintances.
As we remember everyone who was affected by the event (is there anyone, anywhere in the world who was not affected? I doubt it), we tend to take a fresh look at our own lives.
Here’s a scenario: You are a brave explorer, and are setting out on an expedition to Antarctica. You will be gone 5 long years, during which you will have no contact at all with the outside world. It has been a very difficult decision, because you have to leave your family and loved ones. But you decide to go, and you have the full support of your family – yes, even your children! You will return – that is guaranteed – so you can expect to meet them when you’re back. But for the duration of your trip, there will be no contact with the outside world at all. You can neither send nor receive news. You will be completely isolated on Antarctica.
Here is your question: What would you say to your children if you could only say one thing to them?
You will give them hundreds of instructions, pieces of advice, things to do and not to do, people to befriend and those to steer clear of, whom to obey, whom to go to if they have a problem – so much to say! And you will repeat yourself endlessly, desperate not to miss a single important thing. You might even draw out long lists (printed for easy reference, on the computer for when the paper gets lost, and backed up on two hard drives in safe locations for when you might lose the data on your computer) to make sure you haven’t missed anything out.
But at the moment when you turn your back on them, there will be one thing – the last thing – that you will say to your children. What will it be?
I’d like you to try this exercise. Really to sit down and think about it when you have the time. Figure out the one overriding message you want to leave your children with. If you have more than one child, you might have a different message for each one.
It would be great if you could share your message(s) to your child(ren) by posting it in the comments. I’ll write more on this, including my own ‘last message’ in a while.