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AshLeigh's avatar

Do you think the things this man did before he died will be helpful or harmful?

Asked by AshLeigh (14821 points ) December 1st, 2012 from iPhone

I came across this today, while doing research for a creative writing paper, and I was very moved.
However, while I was looking through the comments at the bottom I saw a comment that said “The hardest part in death is letting go. Trust that your loved ones will find their own ways without you. List making is just trying to influence a future that you will have no part in , i’m not sure if that’s ultimately helpful for his children….don’t know why so many reds ..couldn’t agree more ..life is hard enough without having to live up to someone else’s ideals; no matter how well intentioned. How does the charity thing, as well as the kind, considerate and compassionate ideals sit with it.” That made me see a different point of view.
What do you think?

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6 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I’m going to reference a comic strip: Funky Winkerbean. In that strip one of the long term characters died of cancer, but she made videos for her daughter for her birthday every year and for her husband . It sounds so wonderful. But it is intrusive to be told what to do by someone you barely knew who has passed away.

While it sounds so loving, it means a person can’t ever grieve for you and grow on with their life. Having advice is grand, but the children grow dependent on someone who is not present to support them emotionally. The children will not have developed someone to talk to in the dark nights of their souls, or to share the joys of their accomplishments, no one to give them a hug that holds them safe and secure.

The kids don’t need endless advice and rules, they just need to know their dad loved them with all his heart. That knowledge will get them far in life.

Bellatrix's avatar

In this case, I don’t think his messages will do any harm. I lost my mother as a young child and I would absolutely love to have letters, films and other things from her with ideas for different stages of my life. The list is about the values he would have hoped to instil in his children had he lived. The advice he would have liked to give them had he been there as they went through different phases of their lives. As parents, most of us try to do this to a lesser or greater extent. In the end, our children have to make their own choices and so will his.

He isn’t telling them they must go to college and become a doctor/engineer or marry by the age of 25 and have x many children. If he were doing that I would see it as an indication of the man being a control freak and it would not be healthy for his children to try to live up to his demands.

In contrast, I see these as values and guidelines to live by as they grow up. I think they will value them very much as they grow up. I know I would love to have such a list from my mother and even my father who died when I was in my early 20s. Such a list would give me a constant reminder and insight into ‘who’ they were. What a loving father this man was.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know if it will really be helpful, but it seems like a loving act, to me. The way he worded the intro to the list makes it clear that these are only his ideas, and acknowledges that his children may have their own ideas. So it doesn’t really seem to be a directive, but a suggestion. Doesn’t seem likely to cause any actual harm.

flutherother's avatar

It is nice to know he cared but something shorter could have conveyed that far more effectively than a 28 point list. To be honest he sounds like a very controlling personality. To insist on choosing an eternity ring for his daughter’s 21st is taking things too far in my view.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Fortunately, most of us will never know what it feels like to be given a death sentence at a young age. Writing that document was a way for him to cope with his own mortality while possibly helping his family grieve and grow.
Was it over the top? Maybe. But we “immortals” have no right to sit in judgment. Until we are in that same position we haven’t a clue.

My mother died when my brother and I were young. She wrote a letter to us that we were to receive after my father died and we were finally left on our own. Dad died about 30 years later and the hand-written letter was with the will. It is one of the most fantastic and precious possessions I have. (Thanks Mom!).

BosM's avatar

You’re overthinking this. It was an act of love from a father to his children, a living legacy for them to know who he was, what he stood fo,r and how he lived his life. Nothing more than what any of us could receive from parents who lived and raised us.

A similar example of a living legacy is from Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch who gave his last lecture September 18, 2007 in a moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

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