Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the new semester

The new semester has begun. I am taking just one class - From Jerusalem to Graceland. We are looking at sainthood, beginning with the byzantine saints, pilgrimages, relics, and ending with Elvis Presley and Graceland. It's thought-provoking, interesting,and just a heck of a lot of fun. Our class meets in what was the Walters family home, and is now the administrative offices of the Walters Museum. We meet in the parlor, complete with high ceilings, period furniture (except for our conference table), paintings, etc. It's definitely a treat.

I am already feeling pulled in too many directions, with too many time commitments. It
s not just a new semester for me. Work is heating up as we enter one of our two really busy periods. And our son has the busy schedule of a 10th grader. He can't drive yet, so I spend a lot of time schlepping him back and forth.

I have to admit that I love it though, even when it wears me out.

Friday, September 11, 2009

the lessons of sept 11

The lessons of Sept 11th are not that we should fear terrorism, or that we should give up freedoms for security. The lessons of Sept 11th are that we should help where we can, never take our loved ones for granted, appreciate our gifts and our freedoms, and live every day as if it were our last.

The people who went to work in the Towers that morning thought they would come home that evening. Many of them probably bolted through their morning routines. They might have remembered to kiss the spouse and kids, but they might not. If they could have chosen where to spend their last breaths, I doubt many would have chosen the office.

The firefighters, the police officers, the everyday folks who pitched in and helped, who ran toward danger rather than away from it, were showing us the way. That we give of ourselves, as much as we can, to help others.

Terrorism can strike anywhere, even the heart of New York City. America is not immune. But you can't protect against a truly determined killer willing to sacrifice himself; all we can do is try to get at the root cause, and not make more terrorists.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

a national disgrace

OK -- I get it. People are sharply divided on issues these days. But really, people! The last week has been a national disgrace. Our President, our democratically elected leader, wanted to encourage the nation's students. So he planned a speech. And the floodgates opened. Talk radio hosts encouraged people to keep their children home from school, so as not to be "indoctrinated" by the President. Parents protested. Schools decided not to air the speech, because of parental pressure.

The speech was not political. It was in keeping with Obama's role as president -- to lead the nation. He didn't say a single controversial thing -- unless you think encouraging children to study is controversial. His purpose was to encourage children to stay in school, to study, to make something of themselves, to take advantage of the educational opportunities afforded them. What a rebel!

You can disagree with the President. You can dislike the person who was elected. But the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT deserves respect. You can teach your children an invaluable lesson if you can teach them the distinction between the man and the office. This is a democracy. That almost always means that some people did not get their choice in elected officials. But it only works as a form of government if the roles are respected. I couldn't stand George Bush. I did not respect the man at all. But I respect democracy, and I respect the office. That's what we are supposed to do, and that's what we are supposed to model for our children.

Honestly, we can do better than this!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

small changes

Sometimes, it's the small changes that really amount to something.

This morning, my fifteen year old son brushed his teeth without prompting. Then he packed a salad, A SALAD, for his lunch. I felt like I had won something. I'm not sure what, but I felt VICTORIOUS.

Today at lunch, I walked a quick mile, instead of web surfing. I got outside, felt the sun on my skin, enjoyed the cool spots of shade. Not a huge deal, not a real long walk, but I got moving.

Little things. Nothing earth shaking. But small changes add up. They really do.