Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Gen-X-etics

When you raise a child, it is fascinating to watch the innumerable ways that they are the same or different from yourself. I find so many areas where Ben is nearly identical to me in either positive or neutral aspects. There are also areas where we are similar and I wish we weren't. And, finally, there are those areas where he has quickly surpassed me, to my great pleasure.

What is so interesting about this is I know of very little that I've consciously done to impact any of the three possibilities. He is such a reflection of me (and Lori, of course) that you begin to wonder what part of us isn't determined by genetics.

For the fun of it, let's take a look at how we compare.

Similar (positive or neutral)
Ben and I share nearly identical looks and body type (I'll leave it to others to label the similarity), sense of humor, love of ideas and reading, curiousity, happy absurdity, a passion for baseball and its many details, and an interest in music and computers.

Similar (less desirable)
The two areas I see that are less desirable (and I hope I am clear that I see these as my own shortcomings, and not the fault or predestination of Ben) are a tendency to not be physically adventurous (whether it be camping, swimming, bike riding, or climbing trees) and a determined quietness in group situations. Both Ben and I are fine in groups, but we have to feel very comfortable with a majority of the people and also, preferably, be in a familiar environment. By this I mean, he is wonderful in school and with his baseball team, etc...

Surpassed
Finally, there are the talents that are far beyond my own, even at eight years old. Ben is more creative than me and much more imaginative in his ideas. He has already embraced piano in a way I never did, including his first recital, which I managed to avoid. He has also embraced organized sports, which were completely missing from my childhood (I was more of a backyard boy). He does not seem to be as neurotically organized (a good thing!) or as much of a loner as I was(?). Most impressive to me has been his determination and leadership, particularly in starting and continuing his writing club with three of his friends, something I would never have done.

The reason for writing of all this is that I regularly feel powerless to impact the second list, the areas where Ben is similar, but I wish he wasn't. Working on those things often seems to exactly match the description of fitting a square peg in a round hole. But surely we can't help and empower our children to overcome our own shortcomings? I know there are areas of my own life that I consistently feel myself battling against the inherited momentum of my own father, or family. My prayer is that Ben does not find himself in similar battles.