5 more weeks.... we are winding down and I am so excited! As her release approaches I wonder if it's posible to internally combust from excitement.
How is everything going? Are the cock roaches gone? Back in my day they typically stayed in the kitchen, and we would occasionally pursue eradication efforts. Sometimes we would peacefully coexist. Then we would return to eradication efforts.
Well, we exposed Fred, Rock, and Tank to O Brother Where Art Thou, which means I can now use some great quotes in different parenting situations: For example, "I would, however, like to address your general attitude of hopeless negativism." This can take a grim situation and introduce enough light heartedness to facilitate positive resolution. Another good opportunity is when one of the kids asks me who is in charge (because that happens to me from time to time but never to Mom): I can now respond, "Well I figured it should be the one with the capacity for abstract thought." When working on a project in the garage or otherwise doing something involving metal: "Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin?" Of course this last one can be modified to fit a number of different circumstances. For instance, substitute "dishwashers" for "smithies" and "culinary" for "metallurgic" as the children are milling around aimlessly after dinner without any discernible intent to help with dishes and clean up. The possibilities with this last one are fairly limitless. And, finally, when contemplating dinner or any meal: "Care for some gopher?" And someone could respond, "No thank you. One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down."
Well, tons of fun.
I love the expression and development of personality, and I love real people. All of this requires a profound regard for agency. I love children, and I believe so often that we set up a rules and appearances based structure for them and for people in general that chokes out or inhibits the essence of who people really are. It has always been the same battle: Agency and freedom versus control. One of the freeing experiences I have had more and more is to feel comfortable being who I really am despite the fact that some find me odd. In doing this I have had many more meaningful experiences with people including some meaningful missionary experiences. I think people appreciate the opportunity to have real, meaningful conversations rather than the standard, vacuous small talk that is pervasive in human interaction. I love to engage people with questions like, "So, forget about all the surface stuff, what are your most important philosophical musings lately, and how have you evolved recently in your thinking?" This kind of question can lead to a wonderful conversation, even with a complete stranger. Of course it doesn't work with everyone, but if it doesn't work with someone you would probably be spinning your wheels with them anyway.
Reality in general is a wonderful thing, even if at times it is negative in any way. I love the truth. No matter what it is. My good friend has a spiritual gift that is interesting. He loves the truth and knowing the truth. He is not interested at this point in his life in praying for things that are not based in truth, and he has complete faith that he can approach God in prayer and ask to know the truth about a matter or principle and receive very concrete answers. We have very interesting conversations that are almost always complementary in nature due to the tutoring experiences of the spirit. For example, a while ago we got together and had both had very instructive experiences with people suffering from schizophrenia. We learned a lot in our discussion that completed much of what we had learned through our recent experiences.