Captain’s Log 4,469
Don’t be fooled by the title. I am still chugging away at the Confederacy for now.
It had been a few weeks since I worked at the doctor’s office, so last night’s mess took almost three hours to file. I don’t mind the work. I am in the building along (except for the security guards who patrol like crazy). It’s quiet and kind of nice. No phones ringing. Nobody whining. No complaining. I had a nice drive home called it an early night with a bowl of cereal and a good book. Such are my Friday nights these days. Gone are the wild times that I looked forward to when I was younger. Now, I just want peace and quiet. I am either old or content. I prefer to think of it as content.
I downloaded Michael J. Fox’s new book this morning after receiving an email alert from Amazon. It is awkwardly written but still a wonderful story of how his life has been changed for the better while he deals with Parkinson’s disease.
He isn’t looking for those wild times anymore either. He is content with peace and the “work” that he is now doing.
“Work” is important for us. It doesn’t necessarily mean what you are paid to do. That is called your job. “Work” is what you are meant to do spiritually, socially, etc. When your work and your job are the same thing, that’s the best of all worlds because you only have to go looking once. Very few people love their jobs enough to call them work. My father loved his job because it was his work. He managed a grain cooperative and spent his days buying and selling grain on behalf of the local farmers. He knew everyone, and he loved his work. His days were long. Monday-Saturday from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM. He was busy three nights a week with his own activities as well. Always on the go. He sang in the church choir and he was part of the local barbershop chorus. He also played horseshoes in the summer and cards in the winter. We usually visited our cousins on Sundays. I learned to multi-task from him. I got my work ethic from him.
So what did I get from my mother? So many things. My love of reading, my sense of humor, my ability to fight my own battles (she was NOT a mom who got involved in my squabbles by going to other moms and making trouble), my love of the water, my willingness to experiment with cooking (which is another way of saying she was pretty awful and so am I), my understanding of friendship, being fiercely independent, loving laundry and cleaning the kitchen, and understanding that chores come before reward. I know the new paradigm is all about eating dessert first and taking all sorts of risks, but I just cannot leave the house with a mess of dishes in the sink. Certain things simply must happen. I also eat the muffin bottom before the muffin top because the top is SOOO much better.
Someone once told me that people who can delay “satisfaction” (like eating muffin tops last) are emotionally intelligent. I’m not sure if I totally agree, but there must be some truth to it. No offense to the current generation, but these young people are SOOO used to instant gratification that it scares me. They want what they want and they want it NOW! The problem is….most people give it to them. I did it myself this morning when I ordered the book on Amazon. I had it within seconds. BUT……I can still be patient and save my muffin top. I consider that my reserve tank of emotional intelligence. Always there if you need it.
I think we are raising a generation of emotionally unintelligent children. Point is….they don’t know how to fail. No Child Left Behind and all that other bullshit are ways for our culture to continue dragging these kids along even though they put forth no effort. And if the teachers demand effort, the parents come and start a war with the school. What does that tell the child? That he or she is ENTITLED to special treatment! Bullshit.
When push comes to shove, these kids have no idea how to take care of themselves. That’s why over 30% of them still live at home, enjoying all the comforts their parents worked so hard to provide. They are unwilling to live out there on their own with friends – sharing boxes of macaroni and cheese and creating their own fun. They will never understand the freedom of youth because…..well…..because they aren’t really free. I’m sorry. I really am sorry. Back in the day (speaking as an old woman now), I would have never even CONSIDERED living at home with my parents. I moved out about two weeks after graduating from high school – right into summer classes at the university where I lived communally with seven other people. It was a massive change for me, but guess what? I survived. I also thrived. I have heard all the arguments about how expensive it is for kids to move out, yadda yadda. Whenever someone throws that at me, I make this suggestion. If you are paying about $300 month (food, utilities, etc.) to have your adult child in your house, how about just giving them $300 a month so they can do that somewhere else? How about encouraging them to get SOME sort of job so they can man-up or woman-up to the challenge?
And back in the day (here it comes again), if I wasn’t the best, I wasn’t the damn best! I had to settle for that fact. Watching the Olympics is warming my heart because those young people know what it means to NOT be the best. They understand the thrill of competition. They understand their “work.” Bless them.
What this all boils down to is simple. I am a huge believer in making it on your own. I believe in the creation of personal destiny. I believe that failure is a great way to learn what you are made of. It’s not how well you succeed but how well you pull yourself back up that counts. Case in point – Mitt Romney. The man has never failed. Now, he is facing a real challenge where failure is possible (PLEASE LET IT BE TRUE), and he is falling to pieces. He simply doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to deal with any of this struggle. He becomes petulant and childish….and entitled. Point made.
There is a lot to think about. We need to encourage our children to “work.” We need to encourage ourselves to do the same thing. Too many people waste too much time building dreams for other people. Myself included. This advice is just as much for me today as it is for anyone.
Has this post pissed you off? Do you agree or disagree? I would love to start a dialogue in the comments. I mean it. For real.