I think sometimes we are made to suffer a bit so that we will appreciate the blessings of our “normal, boring, everyday” life. My weekend in a wrist brace reminded me of how very useful it is to have two hands! Coincidently there was a report on television about a man who had his toe attached to his hand to replace a thumb that had been amputated, and the MSN home page had a story about a man who had a double hand transplant. I don’t need a slap in the face to get the point! Lol
It is great to be able to type again. That is such a huge part of my life. I don’t know how folks type with two fingers or one hand or any other method besides the old fashioned way. I learned to type in Mrs. Hodges’ typing class and I need two hands for the technique and speed she demanded. Okay, so I never lived up to the speed expectations…
My wrist is better and I will probably leave the brace off today, but take it to school with me. I will sleep in it for a couple more nights because I tend to curl and close my hands in sleep and that is not a good position for carpal tunnel problems.
Very different week ahead. A little review today and tomorrow, parent conferences tomorrow night, library research and doctor’s appointment Wednesday, Christmas shopping Thursday, more library research on Friday, and Springer reunion Saturday. If the world ends Friday as predicted I guess I will not be at the reunion.
Most of us have been around for at least a dozen predictions of the end of the world. I’m not sure why people are concerned with such things since none of us knows if we will live through any particular day. Do they hope to sit around in heaven saying, “I was right! I was right!”?
Have a great day!
I don’t remember the exact figure, but the President’s proposed plan for improving our economy and changing our unemployment situation is a huge volume of words. It seems the government always says things in the most complicated, roundabout, rambling, detailed, and tedious way possible. I suppose the hope is either that we will all be impressed by their verbosity or that they can conceal their true intentions within a mountain of words. I’ve taken the time in the past to examine the contents of a few bills that contain very important necessary changes with assorted “pet projects” attached or buried within the contents. Like….”we’re going to improve highway 36, blah, blah, blah, and by the way we’re also spending $2,000,000 on my brother’s study of the corn beetle.” Yes, I made that up, but the real ones are even more bizarre. Studies, highways, bridges, offices, swimming pools, airplanes, and who knows what else are added to bills written as long-winded tomes that are apparently never read from beginning to end. Honestly, who has time to read 100+ pages on anything! And why does it take 100+ pages to explain something? Oh, I know…details for every contingency imaginable, clarification for every possible objection. In the meantime we could save a dozen trees and pay the salaries of half a dozen people with the printing costs of the proposal! And since the President’s plan has been rejected, does that mean it is headed for the landfill?
There are so many things I don’t understand.
I’m just a country woman with the notion that if the people in Washington didn’t owe so many people so much money and so many favors they might be able to take a look at what our country needs and decide on a plan that could be explained in less than 100 pages. After all, the authors of the Constitution only needed six.
It seems this week has brought more than the usual portion of trouble- personally, locally, nationally- and I might be tempted to have a small pity party if I did not keep one foot firmly planted in the past. My research of Caddo history is a constant reminder that times have always been troubling and people have endured. And most people have endured far more than I have. No matter what happens to me or to my loved ones or to my friends or country, I can find a similar problem in the past. And while that doesn’t eliminate my problems or even lessen the pain sometimes, it does put things in perspective and help me understand the “big picture”. I think that one of the worst feelings you can have is that you are alone with your problems and that no one else cares about you or understands what you are dealing with. Knowing what my ancestors endured helps keep me grounded and makes me feel like a part of a larger tribe that will go on to influence future generations.
God never promised us that all of our days would be filled with comfort and ease. He did promise that we could find joy in our life, despite less than perfect daily circumstances. However, some folks make themselves miserable by expecting their lives to be the exception to everything, by expecting happiness to be a right instead of a privilege. Happiness feels good and we are certainly a “feel good” society.
I suppose our craving for happiness begins in childhood. Parents tend to smooth the path and help children avoid unpleasant and painful experiences if they can do so. I’m not so sure that is always wise. Some of the best lessons are learned by having a painful experience, learning how to deal with it, and feeling confident about facing the next problem. Of course the trick is deciding what a child can handle, so once parents start protecting their children from physical pain it seems logical to expand to emotional pain as well, and pretty soon you can get a child who is “carried around on a pillow” as Gran was fond of saying. I watched yesterday in the cafeteria as a child dropped his milk carton and then stood frozen in place waiting for an adult to pick it up. He made no attempt at all to solve the problem on his own. And unfortunately someone quickly solved it for him.
I am praying this week for wisdom and patience, for a friend who is watching her mother’s last days, for a friend who is battling cancer, for a friend who has serious decisions to make, for a community that is feeling despair, for a country that has lost its vision. I don’t have the answers for our troubling times, but I know they are balanced by the joy of knowing we are never alone.
My friend/co-worker and I were trying to reassure her son yesterday that he will indeed be able to master the art of alphabetizing words. He listened to us for a few minutes and then uttered the challenge that children have been issuing for a hundred years: “Well, you can make me do it, but you can’t make me like it!” So very, very true…and I can remember saying the same thing to my parents so many times.
Repetition does not always lead to success.
Absence does not always make the heart grow fonder.
And enthusiasm is not always contagious.
My parents taught me to do many things during my childhood that I hated doing and still hate. They made me eat things that I still avoid like poison. They made me say things that I didn’t mean and promise things that I couldn’t deliver. I suppose it is just the nature of the job. Parents don’t mean to be mean, just influential. They want to pass on part of their personality, preferences and experience, whether you like it or not. So I learned more about cars than I ever wanted to know and to this day I don’t like to be in a shop or garage. I hate mopping floors and dusting furniture. I hate hominy and liver and black eyed peas. I won’t say “I’m sorry” unless I really mean it. And I won’t ever, ever promise that you I’m going to stop talking so much, or stop tormenting my brothers! LOL
And parents aren’t the only ones who try to make you like things. Friends were and are always trying to get me to shop. I hate shopping!! Rarely do it except for groceries or necessities or gifts. You won’t often tempt me to stroll through a mall or window shop down a busy street just for the enjoyment of it. Don’t like “sales” parties where you go to buy pretty plastic containers or purses or sweet-smelling candles. Online shopping was made for people like me!
Not a big fan of games either. My brothers taught me to play several card games and there was one that I played in college a few times with friends. My grandmother loved Aggravation and I indulged her penchant for it, but never really liked playing. I don’t like video games and I’ve never tried any of the “virtual world” games that friends get so involved with. I’m not by nature a very competitive person.
Don’t like amusement parks or similar tourist attractions and I really can’t even explain why I don’t. I suppose it is a combination of a dozen factors. But I’ve never been to see Disney World and I can die happily without the experience. I have never been to Dollywood or Branson. I’ve been to Six Flags with groups and with my own children and I’ve vowed never to return. Don’t even call me if you get free tickets to Graceland.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. And my own children are probably asking “Well, then why did you make me….?” It is the nature of the job. You want your children to try things. You want them to attempt. You want them to taste. You know that sometimes they have to do things and know things and say things. So you talk and teach and even coerce. But you can’t make them like it!!
There is a warning on the MSN homepage that the use of vitamins and mineral supplements by older women may increase their risk of dying. “Far from being healthy, supplements such as multivitamins, minerals and folic acid may actually raise the odds for death in older women who take them, a new study suggests.” Well, I figure my odds of dying are pretty much 100%, so I’ll take my chances with my morning vitamin.
Seriously? Do people get paid to do this stuff? Study 39,000 older northern women for 19 years and determine they are going to die sooner if they take supplements? I’ll bet I could put together a study that shows that older southern men are going to die sooner if they drink bourbon. And does anyone give ANY thought to the little details of that statement…like the fact that the quality of the supplements, the condition of the women, and medicine itself might change a bit over a period of nineteen years? Was there a placebo group? And what group would you use to compare the women to? Healthy young women who don’t take vitamins at all? And why weren’t men included in the study? My science is a bit rusty, but the whole thing smacks of a plot against old women.
Could we at least have a little in-depth reporting about why the women were taking supplements, what they were taking, and in what quantities? What pre-existing conditions did they have? Were they supplementing their dietary deficits or seeking a magical cure for cancer? Were they taking three supplements a day or fifty-three? Were they also taking other medications? Drinking alcohol? Smoking? Eating red meat? Addicted to pain meds? Washing the supplements down with Dr. Pepper?
These studies always remind me of the cup of coffee sitting here next to me on the desk. Every other year there is a report that coffee is good, followed by a report that coffee is bad, followed by a report that too much coffee is bad but a little is good, or that coffee in the morning is good but at night it keeps you awake. I haven’t yet found coffee to be detrimental to me, so I continue to drink it, just as my grandmother did. If at some point in the future it seems harmful I’ll give it up, just as I have given up other things that I am convinced are not good for me.
So I’ll take my multi-vitamin and my flaxseed oil and my B-complex this morning and wash them down with non-fat milk and hope for the best. Besides, I figure it’s the fake eggs in my omelet that are really dangerous!
Have a good one….
We will be sending home report cards this week and I often wonder how we would respond if our skills and behaviors were reported to someone on a regular basis. In addition to their quarterly report cards our students also get a behavior report each week and a progress report every few weeks. Test results are reported every nine weeks. Any overtly disruptive or aggressive behavior is reported the day it occurs. Violent or repeated offenses result in a “pink slip” which must be signed by a parent. And I am not the only person monitoring student behavior. Every adult in our building, including the custodians, cooks, assistants, secretary, and the principal is on the alert for good behavior and educated minds. You’ll see each of them observing and questioning and encouraging our little ones to do their very best!
As adults we are not under such scrutiny…or are we? Many of us get annual or semi-annual evaluations of our work. Some employees get raises based on performance or sales. Others get promoted to new levels based on skills learned or certificates earned. Our behavior is monitored by bosses and co-workers and customers. And we are often judged by friends and family and neighbors and found to be less than our best selves. They may not give us a written report, or even a verbal one, but they are thinking about our behavior and reacting to us accordingly. And most will tell other people what they really think about us. So we do end up with a report card…we just don’t get a copy of it!
I always thought as a child that when I grew up I would be free to think what I wanted and say what I wanted and do what I wanted, without some authority reporting my every breath to my parents. My dad’s philosophy was that if I got into trouble at school I deserved to be punished again at home. And my mom’s reaction was always utter shame that I would behave badly in public. You should have seen the two of them when the principal reported in the fifth grade that I had written a hateful note to a girl who talked to MY boyfriend! Ouch! So I seldom actually got into any trouble, but I lived with the constant stress of deciding the best course of action in any situation. I just knew that stress would be alleviated by turning twenty or thirty. And by forty I would be free of all restraints! I’m not sure what I thought I would do, but I would certainly be FREE to do it. LOL
I suppose each of us is our own worst critic and we tend to give ourselves low marks for much of our behavior and many of our attempts at working and learning and performing daily tasks. If I gave myself a report card for my teaching this past nine weeks I would give myself a B in most areas. My behavior has been mostly good, but my students will tell you that I am sometimes grumpy or tired just like anyone else. Sometimes I teach everything in my plans and sometimes we just can’t do it all. Sometimes we end the day with laughter and songs. Sometimes we end the day with a dire warning about improving our attitudes! There is no perfect day! But we work together to reach our goals.
I hope that as you go about your daily business this week you will think about your report card and what it would say to others. Strive for high marks and good behavior! And remember that God doesn’t have to wait for a written report. He knows what we do before we even finish doing it.
Have a great day!
For some reason, I can still remember a silly writing assignment we were given in the eighth grade. We had to predict what life would be like in 2000. Believe me, in 1964 the year 2000 was about as futuristic as we could handle! But as a young girl with a creative imagination I felt fully capable of completing the assignment. I don’t have the paper and I don’t remember all of what I wrote, but I do recall four key beliefs I held as a fourteen year old.
In the future we would not be sick. There would either be a magic pill or a magic machine or something that would keep people from getting sick. So people would only die from really bad accidents. (It would also be possible to re-attach or exchange body parts.)
In the future we would not care about fashion. Everyone would wear unisex jumpsuits, perhaps in different colors to signify states or companies or something. However, there would be very little difference in clothing and it would just be practical, not a status symbol.
In the future we would have personal transportation devices. We would get from one place to another with a machine we carried on our back- some sort of rocket pack that would propel us about thirty feet off the ground. (I was probably afraid to think of going any higher!)
In the future someone would know our whereabouts at all times. We would wear a badge or implant or something that located us, protected us, and allowed us to communicate with others anytime we wanted.
Well, I suppose one out of four isn’t bad! I wonder what this generation thinks the year 2050 will be like.
My daughter lamented in her blog recently about the fact that she didn’t graduate from college. She even went so far as to say that she is “ashamed” that she didn’t graduate. As her mother, and as someone who has a Master’s degree in School Administration, I have to say that I have mixed feelings about that statement. First of all, I went back to school when I was over 40 and I have friends from 35 to 55 who have done or are doing the same thing. If it means that much to you, or you need a degree to advance in your career, then go back to school. Give up something, make some changes in your life, and get it done! Even one class is a start.
However, I know from my own experience that completing college is not the magic answer for all of life’s problems, nor does having that piece of paper transform you into a smarter, better person. It doesn’t really even make you a better choice for a job. I watched many of my classmates obtain their degree “by the skin of their teeth” as my mother would say. That piece of paper doesn’t say that you only met the bare minimum of the state’s requirements or had the lowest grades in class. It doesn’t say that you cheated on tests or paid someone else to do observations and papers for you. It doesn’t say that you took the easiest courses available. Yet I watched dozens of students do all of those things while I labored long into the night and spent countless hours at the library studying to earn the highest marks I could. So I knew when I stood beside my peers at graduation that our degrees were not equal, nor did they even represent the same college experience. A degree is just a piece of paper that says you put in your time and maybe, just maybe, you also did the work you were asked to do.
I will be the first to admit that my degree allowed me to change my life and have a career and be the professional that I always wanted to be. I am happy with my choice, I’m doing what I love, and I’m making more money than I could make without it. Many careers require that piece of paper and many employers won’t even talk to you without it. But there are lots of people out there with the same piece of paper who are not working. The unemployment figure for trained professionals is staggering. And there are people who get their degree and find out they made the wrong choice. They enjoyed the process of getting the degree and studying their subject, but they are not happy in the actual job they obtained with it. There are also people with good jobs and good salaries and good lives who don’t need a piece of paper to prove their worth. And getting a degree wouldn’t make anything in their life better.
I toyed with the idea of getting my doctorate. Then I compared the time and effort vs. the benefits in salary and advancement and decided that I didn’t need another piece of paper. I am quite confident that I could do the work and earn the degree, but it would serve no logical purpose in my life. I would only enjoy the little ego boost of having someone call me Dr. Maurer.
My own mother didn’t finish high school. She got married, had children, and worked hard at any job she could find. She also read voraciously and loved to learn new things. She spent her whole life educating herself and was smarter and more knowledgeable than half the college graduates I know. In fact, for a time she edited term papers and reports for several local college students. Friends and family and co-workers don’t ask to see your degree. They don’t evaluate your worth by looking at a piece of paper. They look at your life! They assess your actions and values and relationships.
My granddaughter is going to college and I hope that what she is doing helps her make the life choices she wants to make. But if she attends college for a while and decides that it is not for her that is okay too. Or if she gets that piece of paper and decides to enter a career that doesn’t match what she studied or doesn’t require a degree that’s okay too. The truth of life is that even one year after you get that piece of paper no one ever asks to see it unless you are applying for a job. They only see what you are doing with your life! I don’t make friends or agree to work with people or read what they have written or accept what they say based on whether or not they have a piece of paper with a fancy title on it.
A college degree is just a piece of paper. It’s a rather flimsy thing upon which to base your self-worth.
P.S. That first photo is of me on the SOSU campus in 1968. Next is 1995. Last is 1998.