Sunday, January 18, 2009


That is the best way to describe today. Not that we went out anywhere or had anything special planned. It wasn't like that. It just seemed packed with importance. I will explain. Oh yeah and there is even a dinner picture.

Yesterday, I brought home some marking and planned to do that today while at home. Of course this meant the wife could get out for some errands and I could be here for the kids. Not emotionally but on an emergent parent in charge basis. As I explained it to the daughter there would be some playing in the morning. Then some lunch. Followed by some outside playing. Followed by a movie. Followed by dinner. Followed by brush teeth/book time/bed time. Well the kids playing inside this morning was great. Maybe it was the whole wheat pancakes but they were fully into playing together. I uploaded some cd's so that I could transfer them onto the daughters Ipod. After this I set her and her brother up in her room dancing and got down to work. Surprisingly this lasted for almost an hour. Then they started pestering me and lo and behold. It was lunch time. So I set up some lunch and then packed them outside to play. While the wife and I facilitated from inside they got up to this outside...

The dancing with drums came later. I felt like pretending to do a Chinese new year dragon type dance (do not want to offend anyone, it was just the whole cymbal type sound) with a washed and dried pot and lid I was putting away and everyone else wanted to get in on the act. I thought they did a marvelous job. Especially my son's high kicks right at the end.

After the festivities we sat down to watch The Bridge to Terabithia. Really cute kids movie until it cut my heart out and stomped it on the floor. The sadness was all done off screen so the kids didn't really pick it up. However, they were both sitting in my lap and my sobbing kind of shook them up. Literally. I can't quite recall having been that overcome by a movie. Ever. They watched it a second time right away because it is a good kids movie and I got the last of my marking done. Meanwhile, my starlet of a wife was whipping up some wicked gyoza for dinner.

Well I scarfed down a bunch of these home made honey's but the daughter has the new record as she just kept going back for more. I think she must have had more than 20. I mean she was unstoppable. We made her finish her rice, salad and miso soup (which was outstanding miso soup, I mean its always good but it was at that peak level tonight) so it wasn't like she was lacking anything. Just feeling the gyoza fever.

After dinner we did a quick home reading and then we read about swans before I sent the kids off to join their mom in the bath. At this point I headed back to school and was about to get to work when I noticed a colleague of mine was also burning the weekend candle. So I went in for a quick chat and an hour later I was emotionally limp after talking about things ranging from our fathers to the stresses of the job. During that conversation I tried to recall an idea I had come across recently and I couldn't clearly recall it or where I had found it. When the conversation ended I got back to work for an hour and then came back home. Then I realised, it was in the book I was reading last night just before bed. Another colleague had recommended it to me(gotta love having great colleagues), "Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot", by Jim Stockdale. The image I was searching for was that of Job, from the bible. The virtuous man to whom life is unfair. And there is no answer. The virtue is in the struggle, even though there may be no reward.

To me this seems like a Monumental idea. Life is not fair. (I by the way may be monumentally naive but the verdict isn't in yet) But that doesn't mean you should give up. One of the main beliefs I have is that I should be working toward making the world more fair. Redistribution of wealth, universal properly funded social programs like health care and education, inheritance tax. Sometimes the lack of inequity in the world makes me angry. That may just be the way the world is. However, it doesn't mean I have to stop trying to change it. But the anger doesn't help.

Something else that I touched on in the conversation with the first colleague was my pride. I mentioned that my pride in who I am may be a problem. Searching for recognition for the things I do, or have done, from the outside world may or may not come. But does it really matter. The virtue is in doing the things I can, to the best of my ability. And I am the only one who can really judge that. As the colleague put it, " you are just the same as everyone else, not worse, not better, just a person trying to live." I messed up his words but it was something like that. So for tomorrow, keep trying to change the world, lose the pride and false modesty, and don't sweat it if things don't seem fair. Life is supposed to be challenging. In the challenge lies the virtue.

What a day. And on a Sunday to boot.


von grudegin said...

"the virtue is in the struggle" I like that alot. I work really hard not to spend all my time thinking about the end reward and wondering if I will get there.

G said...

Wow. THe "heavy" part of your blog hit home. To me the struggle is hoping that I'm raising my three kids to be three wonderful human beings, to be a great wife. There's no formula to these and I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm trying hard and hoping for the best. I won't know the result until they are grown and are running their own lives. Life was much easier when I just had a "job/career" outside the home and knew what decisions needed to be made and how to make them. Now I'm molding three little lives. It is nice to know we are all in the same boat. . . Thanks.

Allison said...

great post. lately i am grappling so much more with these questions. how to keep centered on being my authentic self and keeping in touch with the bigger actions. i find myself feeling hemmed in by jobs, work place cultures and general societal norms.

i spent saturday volunteering at a service fair for the homeless and those at risk of homeless. i was struck by why i don't spend more time doing these things. it was the most important, real thing i did all week. i had so many nice interactions with people.

i wonder how people can really learn to know on a deep level that it's not about the end point, the victory but about being in that moment and doing the right thing every day.

i liked g's comments, though i i wonder if you will ever really know if you raised your kids "right". looking back on my life, i would tell mom to take credit for anything she sees in me that she likes and that on which i continue to need to work, is my responsibility.