The TASC List: What we leave behind
A syndicated newspaper columnist, Jim Delay, wrote in a piece — ‘A better man than I’ — father’s hope for son — about the wonderful wishes he had for his offspring when he had grown up. Delay mentioned dozens of areas where this might all come true.
For example, these items:
“He’ll be able to see beyond the end of his nose, and he won’t be afraid of the things he’s never seen, that are waiting for him around the next corner.
He’ll be able to recognize birds by their songs, and he will never be too busy to listen to them.
He will always have time to pat dogs.
When other people tell long, boring stories he will listen to them all the way through, and never miss a word.
He will feel ashamed when he sees cruelty. He always will. And he will not be ashamed when he’s laughed at (as he will be) for being gentle.
He will have a sharp eye for splitting the last piece of candy.
He’ll be better than I am at saying ‘I’m sorry.’
He’ll never get too big for his shoes; he’ll never walk with a swagger; he’ll never talk down.
He won’t know all the answers, and he’ll know that no one does.
He will dream marvelous dreams that are full of discoveries, and explorations and triumphs and answers to riddles. But he won’t feel bad on the day when he finds out that none of them will come true, and that they could only exist as dreams.
He will never be too tired to talk things over.
He will always wake up in time to comfort the nightmares.
He will never fall asleep until everything has been made safe.
Someday he will brush his hand on the bark of a tree in the woods someplace that are like the woods he and I knew together. And he will know simultaneously then, what it is to be a father, and what it is to be a son.
He will not mind that I have not been the man he would have liked me to be. And sometime he will tell me that’s okay.”
Delay’s lovely hopes and expressions can remind us all of our own hopes for the future of Wilton — and what it might become. The town fathers can influence it, of course. We would expect that they are continually motivated to search for, and work for, a worthwhile community, and one that is better than today’s.
It would be a Wilton that can see beyond the end of its nose, and never be too busy to listen. It will never miss a word and always encourage its citizens to come forward to speak, sometimes long and boring, and sometimes short and insightful. It will seek fairness in every decision, become a model of ethical practices at every turn, and never grow too big for its shoes, swagger, talk down, belittle, or seek to intimidate.
It won’t pretend to have all the answers, and when questioned, will explain in great detail exactly how it arrived at decisions. It may dream big, but will understand reality, and the compounding, accumulating impacts of financial consequences on its taxpaying families.
And hopefully someday, somewhere our town fathers and board members will know simultaneously then what it is to be on both sides of a relationship — to have done the right thing, to have molded the outcomes in the proper way, and to have left behind a better place. They can then feel that they are, in fact, the persons others would have liked them to be. That’s much better than OK.
That’s a vision TASC offers for tomorrow. The individuals we elect and appoint in these next two seasons will make the difference. Choose carefully. Bird songs and dog patting are important. Listening, sharp eyes, and deep understanding are essential.
TASC stands for Toward A Stronger Community. Contact: email@example.com.