You know your marriage has weathered well when love brings you to the place where you bear the other’s sharp word or dark mood, knowing as you do that these raw places cover a weary or wounded soul and require tenderness, not scorn or assault. Forgiveness is given, easily, before it’s ever asked, the scuffle brushed away, no more bother than a stray piece of lint.
As I get older, I hope I am more grateful. Hope – because in reality I know I take much of this life’s blessing for granted. Even in this short workweek, I’m thankful for my family and all we’ve been able to enjoy; for my job and the challenges that keep it fun; for opportunities to build on the past and learn going forward.
But then I also want to take a nap, to be selfish with my coffee, to find the remote and surf the channels for a few good days. Is that so wrong?
Maybe. Being grateful is one of those character traits, I think, that must be fed, that must be exercised and worked out from within. I can’t make someone say, “thank you” – you can try with your toddlers, but if they don’t get that gratitude is more than the words, then you’ll have a selfish teenager on your hands.
Not that we’ve got selfish teenagers. Somewhere along the line, we did it right. Or they did. Or something beyond us did (my vote is actually on that one), because they’re good kids who have their moments but by-and-large are grateful and caring.
When we start with Thanksgiving, and we start with family, it’s cool that we get to see firsthand how being grateful pays off with the folks who know you the best day in and day out.
It’s the weekend after the final week of school for Vicki and the kids. I give her grief, but I’m glad that as a teacher she gets the summer off to refresh and rejuvenate. Both children had good years, and as they’ve gotten older their personalities have started to shine through in all the interaction with friends, classmates, teachers and each other.
Trace is fourteen, getting ready to head to high school next year. Cammi is twelve, growing up into her own as well. They both have abilities and gifts, humor and passion that will help guide them into whatever they decide to do with their lives. It’s fun to see, and it’s a good burden to have as a parent to “train up a child in the way he/she should go…”
The past few weeks, that “training” has taken the form of movies. They’ve both now seen the original KARATE KID, and I spent one weekend introducing Trace to FLETCH and STAR TREK IV (that’s right, the one with the whales and William Shatner explaining cursing to Spock). Tonight, there’s no telling what we might choose – and that’s the fun part of summer, right?
I’m also trying to raise them up on the joys of a good book while watching baseball. The Braves are on a tear, and tonight the Gamecocks continue on in their regional against the Citadel. I loved many summer days, especially the way too hot ones or the will it ever stop raining ones, kicking back on the couch or out on the porch swing with a Braves game on the TV/radio and just chillaxing before we knew what chillaxing was.
Think we’re going to pull up SILVERADO on the Netflix Wii and enjoy the A/C a bit.
I’m 41 years old, almost twenty-five years removed from public secondary education, and I believe I dislike it more now than I did then. It is the bane of my evening interaction with the kids, and I would much rather let them play and relax than work on tomorrow’s list of vocabulary words or next week’s history essay.
My question: is homework really necessary?
There are movements in the social and political arenas to do away with the evening assignments, and I can understand why for the most part. I do still see value in the practice, and good study habits have to be developed somewhere. But it just seems that the over-emphasis on testing, on raising scores, and on college preparation has made school more of a 24/7 proposition for our kidlets.
Maybe I’m just too crotchety. Probably a good thing I don’t have any homework.