A New Living Legend: Thoughts from a 2013 Fourth of July

The cute picture of the little boy shown is of my grandson.  That photo means more to me than just a sentimental moment of time captured by a gifted photographer at 9 months of age.  Within that picture there were many contributors to the photograph, my daughter of course made the little boy with her husband, my wife made the white blanket by hand, and my other daughter took the picture in the back yard of the home that she owns with her husband.  Virtually everyone in my immediate family played a part in that photograph.  My imprint of course is that I put the gift of adventure in all those individuals, which is represented by the stack of books off to the side.  That is what families are supposed to do and be for each other as the benefactors are little children like my grandson dressed in his little hat awaiting the tools of cognition to be put before his mind so that he too can live a life of adventure, discovering for himself all the potentialities that come from breathing air, and living life.

As another 4th of July came and went, I thought about my little grandson.  When people wonder why I do some of the things I do, the first answer is because I want to.  I enjoy fighting; debating, and philosophizing—pretty much in that order.  But there is always a sub-plot in the back of my mind which drives me with purpose.  When I was raising my children, it was fighting to make sure they tasted enough freedom and independent thought that they could grow up and live good lives.  I have been successful in that.  Now, it is the generation that comes after which I focus upon.

I have been an inspiration to many young people for many, many years.  I still associate with many of those grown adults who looked as children toward someone to teach them how to be good people, how to face their fears, and live righteously.  I have always offered myself in that role, even when I too was younger than they were.  But there comes a benefit in living, surviving, and arriving at a time when not only you think you know more than everybody else, but you are sure of it.  You know it because the reality around you has proven it time and time again.  You don’t realize it because the intention is to be haughty, arrogant, or considered a God among men, but you just are because nobody else is trying.

When I look at my grandson in that picture there is hope written all over his face.  He is the sum of many people who love him deeply.  As he gets older those character traits will grow more pronounced.  His mind will hunger for knowledge and he is lucky that there will be a lot of people to help fill it.  In particular, I have been already working with him in regard to bullwhip practice.  My daughters captured some of that action in the same photo session, where my grandson was playing around with the custom-made whips that were constructed just for him by my whip making friend David Crain.  I have been letting him watch the whip roll out so he can study the movement and memorize it for later, when he too learns to use them the way I do.

Every child is born with the opportunity to become anything.  Even children who are not genetically gifted or otherwise healthy have more potential in their minds than most living adults.  For them their stories are not yet written and it makes me sad to see so many young children who don’t have adults to pour thoughts into their minds, to give them the ability to think on their own as young adults, and finally as grown adults.  Most children the age of my grandson are doomed to a life of failure not because they lack any ability, but because they lack people in their lives that can help them develop into fully realized human beings.

My grandson will not have to worry about that. He has so many people in his life with very interesting traits of their own, that he has no choice but to pick up on those unique attributes while he forms his own character which is already evident.  Looking at him it reminds me of what the 4th of July is all about.  It’s why we fight to keep our country free so that little boys like my grandson can have the right to think and develop freely on their own, to bring their own unique gifts to the world.  Someday, my grandson might decide that the bullwhip is not for him, but he will make that choice on his own, after he has had exposure to it and filled his mind with the value it brings to him through practice, and a bond with me, his grandmother, his aunt and uncle, and his mom and dad.

The fight for freedom is more than just a token message created by the Tea Party movement to hijack elected offices and become tomorrow’s tyrants through the desk of a bureaucrat.  For me it is sincere, I believe in the things I say here with every cell in my body and beat of my heart.  I believe in it for myself, and the joy it brings me in seeing the lights of freedom igniting in another human being, like the innocent eyes of my grandson, as it was captured so eloquently in the photograph my daughter took.  I will teach his young mind in a way that was only available to my own daughters, but with the self-assuredness of having experience, to be a legend among mankind.  When most people say they want their children and grandchildren to grow up to be lawyers, doctors, or God forbid—politicians, I frown at all those types of jobs.  All of them are less than what I want for my grandson.  I want for him to be a living legend, a character of such charisma, determination, and moral aptitude that there has never been another like him.  Such a goal is a lofty one, but it’s what I will contribute to his mind with all our future time together.  I can see the sparkle in his eye already, and soon, he will begin to take the form of a character unlike the world has ever seen.

And it will come from individuals like my daughter—his mother and her vast creativity, his aunt—my other daughter and her photographic genius and forward thinking vision, my two son-in-laws, one a former MMA fighter, the other a bullwhip champion in his own right, and my wife who reads hundreds of books a year, makes blankets for every member of our extended family, and is willing to spend countless hours on the floor playing with children.  Then of course there are my contributions–in a few years I’ll have him jumping through walls of fire, cracking whips faster than lightning, crawling through caves that a snake couldn’t fit through and facing life with a fearlessness that every young man dreams of.  Ladies and gentlemen viewing that picture—you are seeing a future legend that will know an unlimited life free of any shackles created by deficient human minds.

As I watched the fireworks on the 4th of July in 2013, that is what I thought of.  And I will venture to make it so.

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes With The Crack of a Whip’!”