Bird Droppings February 22, 2022
It has been a long time
I was sitting along the edge of reality yesterday evening after having a bad day with bronchitis and asthma. Somewhere I was in my backyard listening to the wind blow through the pines; it seemed pine trees make a better sound till the oak trees have all their leaves in place. Sort of a circular thing as the wind seemed to blow around the tops of the trees surrounding my house. The sound and movement in the air were exhilarating. It has been nearly forty-one years since our oldest son was born. As a parent and now as a grandparent, I wondered if we have done all we should or could. I think parents question themselves often. I think parents always wonder whether I did the best job I could have. Perhaps even thinking about what could I have done differently? As I ponder, I am very proud of my children, all three, and now three daughters-in-law and three grandsons, and two granddaughters. Hopefully, they know whatever roads they travel in life, we will be there for them if they need and I am sure they will be happy and successful.
“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” William D. Tammeus
I have been to the nurseries at the local hospitals when my wife gave birth to all three sons and when my sisters and numerous friends and now nieces and nephews were all having children. As we sat around eating, I watched my nephew, granddaughter, grandnieces, and grandnephews a few weeks back. Several are still babies, and great aunts, great grandmothers, and grandmothers take turns holding them. Great-grandma was working on getting a photo of all of them together, and trying to get fourteen or so little ones in a confined space for enough time to get one picture with all faces looking forward is quite an effort.
“It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they watch us see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, I.” Joyce Maynard
I have watched my brother and sisters grow as they raised their children and now grandchildren. I have witnessed firsthand my wife and me growing up and raising our children, and now the changes taking place with a grandbaby. There are challenges and pitfalls, those moments that we will never live down. I recall a little spat between my middle son and youngest at Disney World when the middle son would, while my wife was watching for our ride to Discovery Island, karate kick the youngest, and he would, of course, holler and hit his brother. The latter was claiming innocence to his mother. After three times of their little interaction, I interceded even though I had been videotaping the whole scene; watching it now is quite humorous. Even now, my middle son still denies any wrongdoing saying I altered the film.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum
So often use the term setting an example; we as parents have that responsibility, and we as teachers, it is a double-edged sword, and often there is no chance to waste time.
“If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” C.G. Jung, Integration of the Personality, 1939
I recall my wife coming home from the hospital many years ago when she first became a nurse. She was working in GYN-OB and had delivery and nursery in her unit. One day, she told me of a thirteen-year-old mother whose twenty-six-year-old mother was there, and her thirty-nine-year-old grandmother was also there. The examples we set are seen by our kids every day, and then they try and emulate them. Watching my granddaughter try and imitate us as we make faces or stick out our tongue is amusing, and her faces as she tries and mimics. Sadly children are always watching, and our behaviors beyond making faces are seen as well.
“Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children.” Mignon McLaughlin
Each day as I walk down the hallways in our high school, I am made aware of this with so many students pregnant and some married or soon to be.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone
I sit quietly in my dining room at home, reflecting on parenthood and teaching. Today I wonder what direction the wind will blow. Across the nation, teachers, parents, and students want an excellent educational system. Sadly, some seek profit, not considering children are at stake, just simply seeing dollar signs. Article after article, research after research show and indicate today’s reform is not going to work. Creating schools that can eliminate some aspects through a charter or raising stakes so high through testing that students are simply learning to take a specific test and not the material of that subject is creating pitfalls and chasms that may not be within the future fixable. So in a few weeks, my oldest son turns forty-one, and it is hard to believe as I hold my tiny granddaughter that he was once just as small. As I finish up today, so much out in the news around the world is saddening, so please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)