Who’s got your back?

December 17, 2015 § 31 Comments

One of the happiest days in my life was yesterday, when I went to court with my daughter. It was something of an impossible case with little hope of success. She had briefed the motion, and when the court saw it her way it was an amazing thing.

It used to be common for kids to grow up and then work side by side with their parents in the family business. But now there are so many other opportunities out there for talented kids, and the constraints of working for or with a parent make those other opportunities even more alluring.

When I try to put my finger on it, a lot of things come to mind. The happiness at seeing a child hoe a tough row and get her law license in the country’s toughest jurisdiction is part of it. The happiness at having her decide that working with Dad is better than working for The Man is another part of it. The ease of communication and absence of all pretense is another part, as is the thing that has been part of humanity since we were humanity: Passing on knowledge to a child so that she can survive, and thrive.

But there’s something else. It’s profoundly the feeling that someone has your back, not because they’re paid but because they’re your flesh and blood. That when the chips are down you’ll never have to ask for help or wonder whether you’ll fall, unaided. The knowledge that no one will ever fight for you with the intensity and utter devotion of a child.

As all those things were occurring to me, I thought about my friend Marvin, who was hit in a catastrophic collision while riding on Tuesday. Marvin’s son Price is a college freshman and was home on winter break. The way this young man has been there for his father is beyond any words. At his bedside constantly, managing the stress of well-meaning friends and their constant inquiries, being his mom’s right- and left-hand man, always smiling, never letting the seriousness of the situation get him down: This is the child who is a man, the staff that his parents can lean on in their unspeakable time of need.

It’s an amazing and humbling and beautiful thing to see. It transcends the troubles of the day, affirms our faith in people, puts us to bed at night so that we can sleep, soundly.


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