‘A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.’
This is what it says, the cup I’m drinking my herbal tea from. The cup has a picture on it of a little boy standing on a shore. You can see him from the back, in his red and white striped shirt and baggy jeans, hands in his back pockets, looking out at the blue water.
Even though you see him only from behind, I can tell that he looks very much like I did at that age, with a blonde mop of hair and not all that many things to care about.
My seven-year-old son is beside me. We’ve been talking about nothing in particular. He’s just given the cat some milk and explained to me that he’s concerned that some other cat is sneaking into our front porch and eating our cat’s food.
It’s early morning and the African sun has already warmed the day.
My son — he’s still in his PJ top and underwear — looks at my cup and the picture on it.
‘Who do you think that looks like?’
‘He looks like me,’ my son says.
And this is it. It’s not the money or the house or the car or the fill-in-the-blank. It’s the influence we have on the kids around us. This is what will outlive us.
Thank you for the reminder, blonde boy on the shore with your hands in your pockets.
Thank you, my son.