Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Blatant racists: I hope and believe that this is truly a small group of Americans. Unfortunately, though, (as Aziz Ansari pointed out) they are empowered and emboldened by Trump's election. Somehow they feel they can be openly racist now. I'm just certain that when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s you could not claim free speech to protect your bigotry. I remember ass-kickings and threatened ass-kickings for the white boys who dared to repeat what dad or grandpa was saying at home. It was just clear: you don't say racist things. Whether that was a real or imagined reality, it's one worth pursuing.
Latent racists and xenophobes: Another small group, but closely tied to the one-issue voters. These are the white folks who aren't loudly or actively racist, but because of a lack of diversity in their world they generally distrust other cultures and races (definition of xenophobia) and won't get riled up as a result of Trump's ban on Muslims or racial injustice in our nation. If it doesn't hurt them, they don't really care. On the flip side, if it does hurt them (ie jobs in WV or PA) they don't mind policies that hurt others if they think they'll get something (jobs) out of it. They're selfish and misguided, but arguably not actively hateful. That leads us to the largest, and most shameful category.
One-issue voters: No matter what other negative outcomes may be possible, the only thing that these voters care about is their one issue. As far as I can tell, the biggest group are the anti-choice abortion protestors. The funny things is that the vast majority of the anti-choice bloc claim to be Christians*. Yet, they abandon all of the other teachings of Jesus Christ in order to perseverate on poetic descriptions of YHWH's love for humanity (Jer. 1:5; Psalm 139:13). These voters don't care that their candidates abandon the poor, addicts, refugees, the elderly, widows/widowers, veterans, children (students), the sick, minority groups, and immigrants; all of these being things that Jesus Christ directly addressed. Hypocrisy runs deep. These are the voters who are to blame for the fascism that is on our doorstep today.
What's strange, is that despite the steady decrease of abortions since Roe V. Wade, they fail to see that policies which improve the plight of all of these groups would reduce the need for medically-unnecessary abortions because it would address the desperation that often accompanies unplanned pregnancy. Not to mention the ridiculous notion that birth-control interferes with God's plan.
So, thank you, one-issue voters for sacrificing our good name as human beings on the altar of your piety. As convicted as you are, you've gotten it very, very wrong.
*It is important to note that there are perhaps as many as 40,000 separate organizations identifying themselves as Christian denominations. Some organizations represent different bodies with shared beliefs, while the full spectrum of doctrine runs the gamut. So logically, though the voting bloc I'm critiquing largely identifies as Christian, it should not be perceived that all Christians hold these beliefs.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
In late-November 2016, when discussing the possibility of making this dream a reality, I was advised to "clean up" my social media presence. The advice (well-intentioned and sound) was not directed toward covering up my benders or morally questionable photo ops, but toward softening my liberalness for the south-central Kansas audience whose votes I would need.
I've been sitting with this advice ever since. I've even sat down a couple of times to assess what a "clean up" might look like and entail.
Ultimately, I've come to the conclusion that I'm very proud of my progressive, liberal values. I've arrived at them over a very long--still winding--road, and for very specific reasons. So, whatever it means for my dream of holding elected office (and with respect to those who do choose to moderate their positions), I'm not going to soften my stance on the things in which I believe, and I'm not going to keep quiet when I could be speaking up. If it means that I find other ways to affect change, then so be it. There are many roles to play in society, and the older I get the less desperate I am for the roles that traditionally bring the spotlight with them.
I'm lucky to be surrounded by people who make this world a better place every day through small and unceremonious actions. Whatever my role(s) may be, I'm proud to believe that a more generous, more accepting world is a goal worth working toward. I believe that I'm on the gentler side of the issues.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
As likely as not, I cannot exert any force against the actualization of my fear. In other words, I cannot change what is.
I try, in each moment, to be aware of my fears and discomforts--to recognize them, acknowledge them, and to follow where they lead, knowing that I have no control.
And yet, if we spread love or spread hate, perhaps we do have some control over our world after all...
Saturday, May 30, 2015
The screenshot above is a conversation I had recently on Twitter. It began with an article posted by NPR reporter Renee Montagne discussing whether or not women are suitable for combat roles. As I considered the role of women in combat, it occurred to me that no one is suitable for combat roles. This is why we struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, veteran homelessness, veteran addiction, veteran suicide, veteran divorce and, I would not be surprised to find out, other ailments with which I am unfamiliar.
Killing and combat have become unnatural. We have evolved beyond their necessity.
Why do we continue to do this? Why does the (I assume) man responding with the @EVEbestofus account hold so dearly to his hope that combat will always be necessary? Why does he label my wish for peace "incredibly naive?" Why do we cling so tight to a race, a nationality, a religion, a dogma that we are willing to kill in its defense, or in its offense? What is it that makes us need to be "better" in some way?
Obviously, the answer is complicated. I do, however, see one common thread that I think plays a large role: greed. Our greed for so many things drives our desires. Our attachments keep us from settling, keep us from knowing what is "enough." Greed takes many forms and has many foci: money, power, influence, sex, and perhaps innumerable others. All of these things create a false duality of competition against one another. There are those things of which we want more, and there are those people who are in our way. Sometimes, it's ourselves.
I can't pretend to know what motivates the man behind @EVEbestofus. I only know what he's told me. He has told me that he believes we will always have to fight. I fear he may be right. Evil is aggressive. Evil is always willing to force its way where peace will not. That certainly seems to be an advantage for evil things.
But, as always, who's to say what is evil? I wonder if @EVEbestofus is willing to discuss the possibility that America has committed evil, and thus created its own evil nemeses? Haven't all societies?
I paraphrased an arguably great American statesman to @EVEbestofus, hoping to draw common, American ground. Robert Kennedy (the greatest Kennedy in my mind, for all his faults) said, "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask 'Why?' I dream of things that never were, and ask 'Why not?'" @EVEbestofus wished me luck in my dreamland, while he and the other warriors "handle things."
I wonder, what if peace were achieved? Would @EVEbestofus and the other warriors let it be? How would they handle a world that didn't need them? That had evolved beyond them? What greed would drive them? What role could they play in a peaceful society?
For my foible, I am naturally greedy for affirmation. It is an outcome of this life I've lived. I am actively wrestling to manage that greed (which makes this blog somewhat of an oxymoron for me). I sometimes think that I'd like to replace it with a greed for peace and human harmony. But I realize that it is a greedy mind that creates war and disharmony. Given the chance, what evils would my greed commit for the sake of my goal? If I could achieve peace and harmony with a dozen or so well-placed assassinations, wouldn't I do it? And wouldn't it be worth it? Peace, at what cost? There is so much truth when J.R.R. Tolkien gives the wizard Gandalf the foresight to turn down the One Ring, knowing that anything evil at its core cannot beget good. Thus is it ever with greed.
Evil must be pulled out at the root. Evil by whose definition? And how does one peacefully purge it?
I must work to recognize my own greed, and to master it. I hope others will do the same. The road to peace is perhaps only paved one mind at a time.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
I knew I wanted to change my trajectory in high school, and worked very hard to do so. Lacking sufficient home support, though, I was only able to manage a 2.5 GPA, which was much less than I might have had. I failed out of college on the first try, again the victim of a lack of study skills and confidence. Over the years, I have fought back, having to be admitted on probation for every degree I’ve pursued (BA in History, most of an MPA before deciding to become a teacher, and now my MSE). I know what it’s like to feel stupid, and I’m determined that I will not allow a student’s classroom performance to affect my love for them.
Last year, I had a difficult time talking to my students in ways that they could understand. This year I have become much more adept at working where they are. An old version of me laments this “dumbing down” of what I have worked so hard to achieve, but an even deeper version of me is driving me onward, never losing touch with how important it is to show respect to the disrespected, and hope to the hopeless. Unfortunately, I do not believe that those terms are hyperbolic when they describe the experiences of many of my students’ educational journeys.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Candy bars, however, conjure a memory and a mindset I don't mind. Not one bit.
Monday, February 2, 2015
I'm still often exhausted, and there isn't enough of me to go around, but it's better than last year. When I need perspective, I can just look to my overwhelmed, tired wife, and know that I'm in a better place than I was...and than she is (not to rub it in).
At this point, I think I have so much to say that I can almost say nothing. I'd like to start chipping away at those things, but no promises.
For now, despite it still being hard, it's better.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
At the same time, my greatest success as a teacher and parent has come from letting go of "being the grown up."
These ideas that ancient traditions discuss, there's reality there.
Pride born out of brokenness is one of the major problems in our world.
The only way to win a war is to kill all of your enemies. All of them. This is the biggest reason they shouldn't be fought.
In Star Trek, do people on earth all get along as a result of having formed an planetary identity as humans?
Holidays are hard for me. I'm starting to learn this. I don't understand how people are supposed to enjoy each other. This is a mountain I need to climb.
There are 14,000 ft peaks to conquer in the minds of our children. Depths to dive into in their hearts. Many, many children are lacking good love in their lives.
Life is sweet, in spite of the misery.
I do not understand affiliations. I do not understand allegiances to faith, race, culture, ethnicity, etc., etc...
I often hope that I'll know when it's my time to die. I hope that I'll be old. I hope that I'll have the opportunity to just walk into Yosemite and die in the arms of the earth. I hope my children will understand.
I should be doing homework and grading right now. I'm drinking a beer instead.
I've learned about 300 new names in the last 4 months. That's not an exaggeration.
I really do want to record an album.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
I've been told to confess that it's going well.
That's a whole different kind of pressure. If it's going well, then better is...well...even better.
Early in the year I was chanting the mantra, "Everything is not this moment."
Now I find myself wishing I could really be present in all of the moments that are happening in my room.
I learned on Tuesday, during New Teacher Induction, that pain is relative and irrelative at the same time. Relative to the guy I met with 36 kids in a room smaller than mine, 30% of whom don't want to work, I've got it really good. Relative to the really good classrooms, I'm underwater.
“You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Friday, October 11, 2013
1st Quarter Data:
- 1.5 12oz bottles of hand sanitizer
- 54 pencils
- 100 sheets of notebook paper
- 5:30 am wake-up time
- Gallons and gallons of water
- at least 1 dozen observations with feedback
- 8 graduate school assignments
- 1/2 a box of copy paper
- 4 different table arrangements
Friday, October 4, 2013
Teaching middle school, I feel myself wrestling with middle school feelings that I didn't really know about before.
I really believed that I didn't care what people thought of me.
Standing in front of my classroom, I have to squelch the desire to be liked by the cool, powerful kids. I have to quiet my laughter at the awkward kids. I have to come to terms with my need to be cool, myself.
I am surprised by this reality, and humbled by my own humanity.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
So much to learn, so many to teach at one time. In a learning factory.
At the end of every day I get a pit in my stomach for the moments I didn't give love. For the moments I wasn't gentle with the little and big kinds of broken that I encounter every day.
Give love. Which requires stopping.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Meditate on all you've done.
Take a breath. Get through this moment. You can do anything.
Meditate on all you've done.
You helped a boy mature into a man who can love with a healthy passion instead of dysfunction.
You helped turn a surprise into a loving family.
You finished your college degree while battling difficult depression.
You fought hard to overcome your postpartum, life-change-induced depression.
You worked hard to become a teacher when you'd had no training.
You held your head high and gave love in a time of dying.
You are a loving, giving daughter.
You fought through six months of painful baby croup and crying with love.
You care for the creation of a young woman, and a young man.
You jump in.
You make it happen.
You build things.
You build people.
You build relationships.
You are dignity.
You are elegance.
You are class.
Things seem hard. They've seemed hard before. You did it then. You'll do it now.
You're my hero.
Hold your head up, you silly girl. Look what you've done.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
There's this space that I occupy at my school every day. Its number is assigned to me. All of the students who share the space during the day are assigned to me.
About six weeks ago, I blindly, frantically shaped this space in to a "classroom." In the time since then I've added to and taken from the space, both physically and emotionally.
Today, I feel like I belong in this space.
Today, I feel some ownership.
Today, this space is mine.
It's not a conquest, and it's not a hostile takeover.
It's an evolution. It's the propagation of helpful adaptations, and the annulment of old ways. It's the creation of a new being, in a new habitat.
I am evolving. One way I know this to be true is the way that my new home is starting to look, smell, feel, and live to me. I'm learning the ecosystem: both the local and the regional. I'm caring for it, and it is caring for me.
In addition, today I figured out a conversation that has been happening around me, but of which I was not a part. I figured out feelings and responses from my teammates about having three brand new teachers on a team of 12.
This was important not because of the knowledge it imparted (ok, that too), but because of the familiarity of that discovery. Gauging and understanding subtext and unspoken norms are things I'm good at. It was nice to feel that familiar warmth of understanding; nice to put knowledge in my pocket.
They say I'll slip back down this mountain more than once before next August.
So let it be written.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Had a sub for the first time Friday. Monday was no big deal.
First parent-teacher conferences tomorrow. I'm a little nervous.
Taking 45 minutes of my night and listening to Elton John on Fresh Air. This is a little peace of terra firma for me.
Winfield happened. It was good.
Something is happening inside my brain and my heart. Something is growing.
I'm different, I'm told. I think I know this to be true.
One thing that's different is stress.
Stress is because I care about what's happening during my days.
Something is growing.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
It will be August of 2014 before I am consistently doing things that are not "firsts."
I have a very supportive principal who is willing to be tough on me, shoot straight, and push me to be better. And who texts after she's been out of the building to ask how new strategies worked out for me. That feels good.
I love many of my co-workers.
I can see the line between firm and mean from where I stood today. It was a sight for sore eyes. ("Site for sore eyes," which I almost typed, would work too. And it's more fun to imagine.)
I love teaching about history. I love talking about current events.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of 9/11. I have at least 1 Muslim student, whom I love dearly. Today my students asked me, almost every hour, what were were going to talk about for 9/11. When I talked about this with them, I thought I was going to cry.
I told them the stories of two of the worst moments in my life: watching the towers burn with my 1-year-old child playing in front of the TV, and watching the Challenger explode as a 3rd grader. I told them that bad things happen. I told them that we still had learning to do. I told them that evil people aren't representative of their race or creed or gender or religion. I told them that we shouldn't stop the world to remember the time that crazy people did crazy things. I thought I would cry. It was the ethos I dreamed of imparting.
When my children and my world ask me the question, "Did I do all that I could? That I should have done?" I pray that the answer will be yes.
And I look forward to the day that I'm not running scared so that more of my moments are teaching and fewer are scrambling.
If that day is a myth, please don't tell me until next August.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
So many things make so much more sense to me now.
I hope this chart that my friend shared with me is wrong. I've been told on a number of occasions that I'm already very reflective. I hope that's true. I think that's a good way to live a life. Maybe that means I'll be ahead of the curve.
I definitely dreaded going in today. Friday I had a mutiny in first hour. They just didn't care for my rules and my discipline. Hello, blind side.
Anything worth doing is hard. The big thing for me is regret that these kids won't get the teacher I someday hope to be.
Onward and upward. Or downward. Then upward.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
2. There is no reason that 8th grade girls roll their eyes, make those faces, and sigh those sighs. It's just how they're built.
3. A little quiet respect goes a lot farther than volume and yelling.
1. Why do I feel like one of the primary goals I've been asked to achieve is to quash personality?
2. Why has no one ever explained to these kids why they say the pledge of allegiance? Or what it means?
3. My students, my loves. If Dr. Martin Luther King can't keep your attention for less than 1/3 of the incredibly powerful "I Have A Dream" speech, then what hope do I really have?
4. Are there really new teachers who can't own up to their own shortcomings? I can't really see anything else right now.
Today was good. I'm learning things for home at school, and things for school at home.
Today I achieved my goal of over-preparing.
Someday soon I will have to tackle the problem of different hours trying to learn at different paces.
That will probably look a lot like differentiated learning.
I need to go back and read up on differentiated learning.
What am I looking forward to about summer?
Time to lesson plan.
Monday, August 26, 2013
I gave my first test. Classroom management was decent. Being observant and clear-minded makes a big difference.
So does preparation. Preparation makes or breaks my day. Am I ready to engage my kids in their learning? Am I ready for what I don't know is going to happen?
Someone told me, "The thing you think will take ten minutes takes an hour. That's no big deal. It's when the hour thing takes ten minutes. That's when you're screwed. Are you ready for it?"
There's so much to say. There's so much I want to tell you all. So much I want to remember.
Right now I'm like the Pink Floyd lyric:
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Yesterday was too much. Yesterday I didn't feel good about things.
I've never welcomed a weekend with such fervor.
I just want to alert you all to the resurrection of this space.
Friday, October 12, 2012
One of the things I've been thinking about lately is social media, and the way I think it might give us insight into the world views of our friends and acquaintances. As I read my News Feed every day, I see all kinds of languages. Some are "love languages," some are coping languages.
In snippets of observation, publicly whispered prayers, jokes, jabs, wishes, hopes, and dreams, I imagine that we see a little bit of each of our paradigms. I'm all about the paradigm.
My people know the language of pain, the language of love, the language of loneliness, of stress, of critique, of the mind, of the heart, of the body, of age and experience, of youth and confusion, of the human condition, the human condition, the human condition.
What a damned beautiful mess.
And I wonder about you all. And I wonder about me.
Here we are, sharing this life.
Who hurt you? What scared you? Where did those scars come from? That persistence? That belief? That strength? Those secrets? That steely gaze, persistence, and drive? Who are we all?
One of my learned languages, one of my coping languages, is music. I process it all, see it all, hear it all, through the observations of rock and folk songwriters. Just about everything brings a song to mind.
One of my default settings is "melodramatic," turned up to 11. Today, at 35 years old, it's a funny observation about myself. For years, it was hard to understand why my lovers and friends weren't on board with this.
So know this: my love for you, my friend; my love for my long-suffering wife; my love for my children, our world....all processed through a soundtrack of melodramatic pop music. Blame my mom, and then just keep blaming her for everything.
Classic melodramatic pop is the Bee Gees (catalog 1964-2000; way more than disco). I'm laughing as I even try to choose what song. :-)
Okay, pay special attention to the keyboard playing, the bass clef, and the bass guitar during the chorus. It's crazy theatrical. Check how hard the notes are being struck.
I want to post so many melodramatic songs. I'm dying of laughter here. Ask me about it some time.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The question of whether I COULD be ready for work or not by the time the kids go to school is easy. I could.
But I usually don't. I am woefully in need of a slow ramp up in the mornings. Not like the lovely lady who "sleeps" next to me. Despite rarely getting a good night's rest (she's highly stressed), she is unbelievably more disciplined than I. Like now, when I'm blogging instead of those other, required things.
Monday, September 24, 2012
The concept was foreign to me: completely. People were bad.
I had a myopic experience with people.
I am blessed to be a part of a community with people focused on the other--focused on making this world better. Focused on loving.
And always, at the center of my community, of my world, that 19 year old girl with the hippie-dippy belief that people have good in them.
It doesn't mean they're in touch with it. But she is, and that's enough for me. Enough for me to love. Enough for me to care. Because she loves me, I love you.
That's kind of good.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I think some of what keeps me from being a more regular blogger is just this: that I say what I'm thinking to all of those who cross my path. By the time it comes down to creating a post, I already feel redundant.
Today was the day on my Flatrock 25K training schedule when I was to run 6 miles. The training schedule I'm using, and most schedules I've perused, use the weekends as a long run opportunity. It's become clear to me that this is a common method because it works. Now last year, as I trained for this same race, I decided that the long weekend runs were a bad idea. In all of my wisdom as a novice long-distance runner I knew I could outsmart the system.
This morning as a began to think about the long run ahead of me (having only run 3 miles 3 times this week, and poorly running two 4ish mile legs (minus mistakes) during the Brew-to-Brew Relay in April - or March - I don't remember) I began once again to have feelings of misgiving regarding this long run. Thankfully my friend Zach didn't wait for me to call him, and texted me with a suggested time, to which I agreed, otherwise I think I may have skipped it altogether.
As I was preparing to go meet him, I was struck by a realization. I was scared. I was scared to go out and try to run 6 miles. As that thought started to sink in, it became clear that fear was the real reason I altered my training last year. The long runs intimidate me. Not for the distance I think; but for the fact that they might find me wanting. Wanting in that very area that I hope running will help me improve: self-discipline.
I shared this realization with Megan, and it felt good. It felt good to let go of preconceived ideas about manhood and worth. It felt good to own and embrace what I see (saw?) as a shortcoming. I was free now to meet this challenge, face this fear, on my own terms, within my own limits.
All I did was go out, comfortable in that skin, and have the greatest running experience of my life. No world beater of a time at 10 minutes/mile, but exactly where I'd hoped to be, and I never felt strained. I was in my skin the whole time. I know not every run will be like this, but I've given myself permission to do my best, not anyone else's.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Win or lose: a tie is like kissing your sister (unless you're from Kentucky, in which case a tie is like kissing someone more than one relative away)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
But I couldn't remember ever needing to explain to him what the giant shadow with flashing lights in the sky was. I wondered what I said. I bet I told him about storms in a very scientific way. I bet I told him everything I've learned that other people discovered about weather.
Then I thought about the Plains tribes who didn't have the meteorological knowledge--just experience and superstition. What did they say?
They created the best explanation they could for this monumental, unavoidable natural force that was holding their children's attention. Just like I did. They probably told the same story they were told as children.
And then I wondered, did they believe it to be fact? Or were they comfortable with metaphor?
What if they were?
And, as is not unusual for me, I wondered about all ancient religions and their lore, their explanations. I wonder at what point the story to explain the unknown and tame the wild crossed the line into "fact;" into religion. Was there an elder who knew it was bullshit?
What if we're the simple ones for elevating campfire stories to god status?
As I sat in a parking lot in Wichita on Saturday, waiting for Megan to come out of the Dollar General we'd stopped at to get Maggie socks for her performance, I watched a black man approach the door.
He was tall to me, maybe 6 foot, had long, straightened hair, was dressed all in blue, held his left hand over his crotch and walked with a swagger. He had on dark sunglasses and white boat shoes. I wondered if he was a Crip.
From the other direction, a small white woman, maybe in her early to mid sixties, approached the same door. She was white-haired, well-dressed, a little swollen from middle-class living, with dangling sterling earrings that flashed in my eyes as I watched her.
I wondered if she'd be scared.
The man reached for the handle at the same time she did. He pulled the door open and took half a step back to make room for her to go through. She stopped, looked up at him, spoke something I couldn't hear, and touched his arm. His head threw back in laughter and I saw her shoulders shake with laughter at the same time. They shared a few more words and another smile and she went into the store as he followed right behind.
As the door closed on them my self-righteousness was torn ragged from my eyes, my prejudices bared to me.
They were beautiful, human, and right. And I was glad to see it. And ashamed of what I thought would be.
I have a long way to go. My only solace is that we all have so much to learn.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Somebody said it's different now; look, it's just the same.
Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.
They could have saved a million people. How can I tell you?
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
You were up too late.
You didn't sleep well.
You had a nightmare.
You couldn't sleep at all.
You slept like a log.
You fell in love again in your dreams.
You popped up ready to go.
You couldn't drag your ass out of bed.
Every morning in our house I experience a sort of looking glass reality. Megan is always up first. She's the responsible morning person. It doesn't matter if she slept well or at all, if she has to get up to get ready for the day she does it. Period.
So I most often wake up to the sound of Megan pleading with Maggie to get up so that she'll be ready for school in time. Maggie cries...and yells...and whines...and refuses..and groans...and begs for more time.
The funny thing, the looking glass thing, is that all of the things Maggie says and does are in my head, too. She and I feel exactly the same way in the morning. Those moments when you see yourself in your kids are always so neat. And so, lately, I've been actually getting up with a wry outlook, even a wry smile, and helping to rouse Maggie because I totally get where she's at. I used to get angry, and frustrated. Then I remembered being on the receiving end of that anger and frustration, and how I felt it was unfair because I wasn't choosing to be so hard to get up. I look at Maggie and I know, it's just how her body works. So it's a long process to get her up, but I totally get it.
And, like always, I learn from my kids how to be a better adult, a better father, and a better husband. I have taken "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 as my opus for parenting. I have climbed highest mountain, I have run through the fields, only to be with you; but I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
I have come so far for the chance to parent you, but I'm not good enough yet. I'll keep climbing, keep running.
Friday, December 3, 2010
- Corruption and censure
- Rich getting richer
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I've usually chalked it up to the difference between air temperature and water temperature, much preferring to be covered in warmth than wetted down and left to stand in the cold air. But yesterday, whilst plugging my nose and limply lying in the bath, I had another, altogether more primal thought.
As I pinched my nose and sank beneath the steaming, still water, sounds became far away, sight was gone, the incessant need to inhale and exhale became calm, my muscles completely relaxed and I was suspended in time and space. Into that space came the metaphor of a womb, the ultimate iconography of protection and warmth. For those precious seconds in my hot bath I can feel protected and insulated, free from the hurry and worry and the constant drive that even my breathing and heartbeat demand from me. It is more than relaxation; it is freedom.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I hold some grudges, not many I hope. The baggage from that childhood lesson for me tends to manifest as a fear, an expectation, that others will hold grudges against me. That leads me to be hyper-paranoid about every glitch, every misstep, every impropriety. As a middle-schooler, I was so hyper-paranoid of being judged and pigeon-holed that I would silently mouth back to myself every sentence that I spoke, just to be sure it was correct. My friends noticed this very obvious practice and would then (and sometimes still) tease me about it. It probably looked very funny, and I look back and can laugh about how it must have appeared. But I still remember the terror of speaking. The terror that I would offend someone with words or syntax and it would be forever held against me. These days I just quickly repeat my sentences in my head. :)
I'll just breathe now.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
King, Carmichael, and Malcom X were all at odds about the use of violence to achieve their goals.
What did Ghandi achieve in the end?
Can it be done with votes?
I'm not sure it can.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
This morning, Maggie, as 10 as the day is long, donned a pair of baggy denim overalls over a T-shirt and headed off to school. She was the reflection of the Megan that I met in 1996, 18 years old and living in a couple of pairs of denim overalls. She looked so much like Megan to me that in that moment, as I looked at my wife, all of the girl that I knew, all of the child that has been a part of how I've known her, melted away. I saw for the first time a woman, a professional, an educator, an adult. I saw her cares, her responsibilities, everything she balances--she was suddenly mature to me. I could see all of the times I've treated her as a child because I once knew her as one. She's accomplished, respected and driven. She even looked different. I've used the words "class" and "elegance" to describe her before, but I see now it was only in reference to what I thought she could be. Today I saw, for the first time, that mature grace and soulfulness that she holds. And I knew that I was in over my head.
And so, as if to reinforce my new discovery, she gave me a second moment to shred my paradigm.
Megan has been leading her students for these many years, and I've never been in the right place to witness her connect with them. Well, today she did her faculty introduction, which is a tradition for new, full-time faculty at Bethel College. It was stomach-punch sincere, with complete control over her audience. I've never been enraptured by her like I was then; standing tall, confident and in control, she handed her students (the entire student body) a piece of herself with the dignity and grace of Jacqueline Kennedy O'nassis. And I knew that I was in over my head.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
In an old dusty well by the side of the road.
Where lawyers and bankers'd tied on old rusty anchors
And left her for dead with their dollars in tow.
And blue in the face at the end of a rope.
A sign there did read, "Passers-by ye take heed,
The death on this rope once was our great hope.
I found America, witless and wandering,
Matted grey hair and a tattered old coat.
Once the strength of the people, the spire of the steeple,
But twisted by greed her own downfall she wrote.
You can hitchhike for four days from Seattle or Saginaw,
Board you a Greyhound for Tucson or Maine.
By plane or by train, it's all one and the same,
Of America's future only memories remain.
I found America, waving and smiling,
Her hair it was perfect, her teeth nearly shone.
I drew back the curtain just to be certain
But her smile was for sale, her words not her own.
I found America, red, white and blue,
Lost in the distance between me and you.
Send your tired and your poor to her great golden door,
But remember, above all, to thine ownself be true.
I found America, hope for tomorrow
In the cycle of life, the cycle of sorrow.
Are the deep and dark eyes of my son and my daughter
The one saving grace of my mother and father?
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Pacifism is the active seeking of peace in the face of violence. Pacifism and peace are very different. Many people are committed to, beholden to, pacifism and experience little peace because of that commitment. Since it is, by definition, in defiance of something, pacifism is not a peaceful experience. It's much the same concept as, "Imagine there's no heaven" or country or hunger. Peace is something achieved only after the struggle to achieve it becomes obsolete.