So many thoughts whirl about in my mind; waiting to be unleashed.
Thoughts like, does beauty pay? Does a good looking person have more opportunities than the average looking person? Are they more successful?
Questions like how our educational system is run. How can our students become critical thinkers and compete in a global society? Is the Common Core of State Standards (CCSS) the answer? And what about our teachers? Are they adequately trained or compensated?
How do I parent sons to be self-motivated? To find their voices and navigate in our instant gratification, social media world? To be good stewards to the environment. To continue to grow in their faith and be good citizens in our society?
Chatting with my two girlfriends about all of these things; one turned to me and asked, “What is it that you are searching for?”
I am full of questions and too few answers. She handed me a book about teenagers which I will immediately begin to read. They applaud my efforts to pass responsibilities to others. But this is a slow process. I am a servant; this quality ingrained from my own mother. Acts of service is my love language (from Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages).
I search for balance. The ability to let things go. Simplicity.
I am still in transition but I am beginning to wonder if I will ever feel like I’ve arrived. Because isn’t every day of life about change and transition? Another gray hair arrives upon my head, my boys continue to grow taller. I desire a simpler life but distractions constantly fight for my attention. It’s hard to shut out the white noise to focus on what’s important. I can’t escape to Walden’s pond or Muir’s granite-cliffed Sierras. Our Maui spring break seems like years instead of three weeks.
These musings leave me frustrated. I want to tell my sons, who are realizing the power that beauty wields in adolescence, that it doesn’t matter. But it does. I expound the virtues of brushing teeth, trimming nails, presenting a clean appearance and deodorant. To put their best foot forward.
I asked one of our salesman this question about looks and if it produced more sales. Without hesitation he answered with a resounding Yes!; citing examples in our male dominated workplace of manufacturing. It was my son who posed this question and I consider how I will answer him. I want my boys to value intelligence, a work ethic with follow-through, and communication. To not be fooled by beauty and appearances.
I continue to research and observe how our school district is managed. Because right now my local district really doesn’t have the students’ welfare on their minds; only the almighty dollar that sits in the coffers. I’ve learned great teachers are barely making a decent wage; many who are leaving our district to better provide for their families elsewhere. I’m discovering many disgruntled parents who feel that their voices are not heard and are not being informed. Everything seems to be under the guise of the new Common Core curriculum; a distraction from the real underlying problems being swept under the carpet.
And it all returns to money. It crumbles established institutions like marriage, religion and education. The worship of flimsy paper is the panacea for all things. It can make you beautiful. Powerful. I work to have it; bringing comfort and stability to my home. The deeper you get in it; the tighter its grip.
I laughed as my girlfriend shared how liberated she felt as she gave away her vast collection of shoes. It gave her great joy to shop for them. But it gave her greater joy to be rid of them. I am on this same glide slope. It has given me great joy to serve and contribute. I am working on giving these things up to allow me the time to focus on what’s important. But I am not there yet. This parenting-marriage-relational thing; it never ends. I continue to fight for the balance; not just in my budgets, but in my every day. I have a lot of unfinished business yet to do.