Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Sources of Pride

WordPress offers its members a daily suggestion for writing.  Yesterday’s suggestion was to “tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.”

Well, that’s easy.  I’m proud of my kids.

KB helping outThis is my daughter helping one of her friends get her classroom ready for fall.  She currently works as a para-educator at a local middle school, working with kids who have emotional and behavioral issues.  These kids love her to pieces, even when they are screaming at her or spitting on her clothes or punching her.  She loves them, too.  For a while, we got to work at the same school, and that was really, really cool.  Evenings and weekends, she is the Young Life leader for women at the University of Washington.  And in her spare time, she’s actively involved with her church.  I love her, and I’m pretty proud of her.

(Irrelevant but interesting detail:  that tee-shirt is one I bought in New York City in 1986.)

GB and DTIn this photo, my kid is the tall one in the back.  When he’s not eating ice cream or taking selfies with his pretty girlfriend, he’s working as an Engineer at a company that makes cranes, or playing with his cat or watching sports or playing X-Box.  He has a fantastic relationship with his sister, above, and can cook as well as any mom in town.  Although there’s little physical resemblance, he’s a duplicate of his dad in many ways.  He has the same kind heart, the same gentle sense of humor, and the same ability to fix things.  I love him, and I’m proud of him, too.

Something that makes me proud of the both of them is the way they responded to the great family financial crisis of 2008.  Dave and I could handle how our diminished finances would affect us.  We were both raised without a lot of extras and knew how to cut back.  But we felt absolute terror about sharing the news with our children.  We needn’t have worried.  They reacted with maturity and grace.  Both of them found jobs in a matter of weeks.  Our daughter chose to postpone attending grad school, and our son made sure to complete college in four years and without any debt.  Not once have I heard either of them remark–either positively or negatively–on the lost money.  Their behavior often inspires me to carry on myself.

What makes you proud?


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I recently got to watch my electronic odometer blink to 100,000 miles.  I was alone, driving home from work, and felt lucky to have seen the moment.  So often these milestones–and others far more important–pass us by without making themselves known, particularly where family is concerned.  I think our daughter’s first word was “Ba,” but only because I wrote it down somewhere.   Ba meant bottle, cat, up, ball, give me my pacifier, and stop that.  Our son’s first word was probably, “Are you gonna eat that?” because I didn’t write it down and don’t remember his early syllables.  More likely, it was “Da,” his favorite person.  One walked early, the other late, and both visited the doctor for stitches when I was out of town on business.

Yet what I see in our children is that recording these moments wasn’t what mattered, anyway.  What mattered was that we played hour after hour of word games in the car on long road trips, asked them their opinions at the dinner table, read to them nightly, and visited with them long into the night on weekends after SNL ended.

If we had seen the odometer turn over as a family, I imagine it would have gone something like this.

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Sometimes events become so widely commented upon that we bloggers have no choice but to weigh in ourselves. Such is the case with this year’s most-shared graduation speech, by English teacher David McCullough.

My view reflects my status as what I call a “late Boomer,” one of those kids born after the “early Boomers.” The “early Boomers” came of age in the 60’s and got all the press. They organized protests and sit-ins, and burned their draft cards. “Early Boomer” women got the same jobs as “early Boomer” men. They hated Nixon, hated their parents, and named their children Willow. In contrast, we “late Boomers” came of age in the 70’s. With no trails to blaze, we hung out at the mall, attended emptying high schools, and became the first viewers of MTV and SNL. Our President told us we had a crisis of confidence, and we had no trouble believing him. Have you seen the movies of the late Seventies? Chinatown. Marathon Man. Dog Day Afternoon. Taxi Driver. Everyone dies. And then, we got married and had children.

Finally, we were in charge. Finally, there was someone on the planet who would listen to us.  Boy, did we screw up.  We have raised the most entitled and whiny bunch of navel-gazers on the planet.  We didn’t mean to.  It’s just that all those downer movies and speeches and the economy led us to believe we had so little to look forward to.  Instead, the economy went nuts, and we had our children during the good times in the 80’s and 90’s.  We were like Depression-era folks, telling our kids how awful it was in the bad old days, before we all had cable and color televisions and computers for finishing our homework.  We bought our kids graphing calculators and told them about the $100 Texas Instruments calculators that could do square roots.  We filled the coffers at Gap Kids and Abercrombie and Fitch and the American Doll store.  We reveled in the marvelousness of it all.

And into this atmosphere comes English teacher David McCullough, who finally sets them straight.

“Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…

But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.”

Bless you, Mr. McCullough.  Bless you.


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The biggest revelation to me as a brand new blogger is the sheer variety of bloggers out there.

I’m here to promote my writing.  Please read my book.

Exciting, no?

Other bloggers…well, other bloggers are out to take the world by storm.  Today I read the work of “Honest Toddler,” and all I can say is this:  brilliant!  Life through the eyes of a toddler.  You know you’ve wondered what’s going on in their heads.  You’ve tried to interpret all that shouting, screeching, whining, and giggling.  This blog makes it real.  From explaining the physics behind why car sleep is so much more refreshing than bed sleep to riffs on the proper play date snack.

In my next life, I hope to *be* a toddler.  For now, I’ll just read up and prepare.

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