Let go of anything that’s not love!

On the innocence and purity of children

Ben Fathi
4 min readApr 1, 2024
Shamelessly stolen from frugalfun4boys.com

“Everything in you that you don’t need, you can let go of. ”— Ram Dass.

“Those who do not turn to face their pain are prone to impose it [on others].” — Terrence Real. I don’t want to talk about it: Overcoming the secret legacy of male depression.

I was walking on the beach with a friend at sunset last night when we came across a family of four. The mom and dad were talking while the younger daughter played nearby. But our attention was caught by the roughly six year old boy walking around with his plastic Star Wars Jedi light saber. He was deep in reverie as he lunged and turned and thrusted his weapon at all manner of imaginary foes.

I’ve spent a lot of time babysitting my six and two year old grandkids and never tire of watching them play by themselves. It’s crystal clear that they’re almost literally inhabiting the scene they’re acting out. Whether it’s talking to Elmo or playing in a dollhouse or drag racing PocketWheels, their imagination is so vivid, their brain so plastic, that they manage to conjure up the scene they desire, place themselves in it, and act, for all practical purposes, as if they’re wearing virtual reality goggles, totally oblivious of the physical environment around them.

Wow! That’s just beautiful to watch. With my friend on the beach last night, the conversation turned dark for a while, lamenting the state of the human race, grieving the status quo. We both observed how we take these magnificent specimens, these supercomputers bouncing around and giggling, these geniuses delivered to us from the cosmos through a portal in time and space, and what do we do with them?

We beat them into submission, we abuse them physically, mentally, and sexually, we lock them up in classrooms for the most productive years of their lives and force them to memorize arcane formulas instead of teaching them how to think, we graze them on processed foods and sugar, we seduce them with drugs and alcohol and sex and gambling, we uproot them and severe their friendships at our whim, we expose them to all manner of depravities, we bully them and shame them and guilt them; in short, we take delivery of these vessels of pure love and joy and promptly proceed to crush their spirit and beat the magic out of them. We do so, day in and day out, for decades and then we wonder why the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Here, of course, I’m not talking about every parent nor do I mean to over-generalize. But you have to admit that our track record, as a species, is not stellar. Statistically speaking, a child is more likely to encounter one or more of the issues mentioned above than she is to have a totally blissful and balanced life.

Practically every one of the negative traits we abhor as adults are bestowed upon us, nay… indoctrinated into us, as part of our upbringing. And we pass them on to our children, blindly passing the baton from generation to generation. We’re all guilty in one way or another.

Children are the universe’s gift to us. Perhaps we should stop telling them how to live and learn how to live from them instead: Oh, to be free of prejudices and neuroses, to let go of our emotional baggage and resentments, to live every moment like it’s the only one that matters, to experience everything for the first time again, to dream up entire worlds in our imaginations, to laugh and love with all our hearts and souls. Isn’t that what we all want?

At the end of the evening, after we had decried the current state of affairs, the conversation thankfully turned to a more positive outlook, both of us realizing that it’s not too late to change the path we’re on, not too late to clean up our act, come to our senses, and to love each other like we all deserve.

“Let go of anything that’s not love!”, a wise friend once told me. That’s the only hope we have of ever reaching our true potential as a species.

Author’s note: I’ve deleted all my social media accounts (except for Medium) and now depend exclusively on the kindness of strangers to pass the word around about my blog posts. Please share this post with others if you liked it. Thank you.



Ben Fathi

Former {CTO at VMware, VP at Microsoft, SVP at Cisco, Head of Eng & Cloud Ops at Cloudflare}. Recovering distance runner, avid cyclist, newly minted grandpa.