Every summer I am in the fortunate position to be able to come down to the sea. The family sails, swims, builds sandcastles. We drink wine with other families along the sea wall and watch the sun go down. It's a magical time.
As the years go by our children are building memories and relationships. They only see these other children for a few weeks each summer, but I know these friendships will endure.
How do I know this?
Well, this year, my eldest daughter (age 13) is the Vice Commodore of the sailing club cadets; which has meant that she has been responsible for a lot of the organisation of "Activity Week" in which 50 young people, age 8 – 14 learn about sailing and have fun on the water. (And if my pride in her is oozing out of the screen as you read this, I can only apologise.)
My point is that this year there are many cadets from families who – 35 years ago – had their fathers in the cadets. These men have brought their children from far afield (from abroad in a couple of cases) to join in "Cadet Activity Week." I have spoken to them, in my capacity as "parent of the Vice Commodore" (just had to get that in again – sorry!)
One father explained to me, as he looked around the group, "This set of people is the nearest I have to an extended family, I value them so much." Another almost had tears in his eyes as he said, "James was my best friend growing up. We only had the summers together, but he was my best friend. It means so much that his daughter and my daughter are now sailing together and are friends too."
Most men have the desire to see their genes go forward, to continue the family. But there is an additional joy in seeing your children do the same things you did and getting equal enjoyment from them.
I like to think that the strong bonds formed in childhood can endure, and can be passed down to future generations.
There is a comfort in continuity. Especially the magic of continued friendship – friendships that are passed down to the next generation.
Even if we don't have children of our own, we can probably find some area of continuity in our life. What continuity in your own life brings comfort?
A Moodscope member.