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Caught Off Guard

  • Posted on January 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Will and I had a meeting with his guidance counselor last week. We talked about what Will wants for his future, what we were doing about it, and what else we could do about it. As you may recall, Will wants to be a video game designer. So, I told the counselor that, as far as electives were concerned, we were focusing on art and computer classes.

She gave us some great news! Next year, Will can take graphic design and game design (a new class!) for the full year! I found that very exciting and Will was psyched, too. But, while we were still talking along this vein, Will dropped a bomb on me.

“I also need to learn to speak Japanese, because I’ll need to speak Japanese when I work for Nintendo Tokyo.”

I sat in stunned silence. We’ve talked before about how Nintendo is a Japanese company. We’ve talked about how, to work for Nintendo, he’d have to learn Japanese and he’d have to move across the world. Never once did he say, “I want to do that!”

Now, it’s not that I don’t want to encourage my son to pursue his dreams. I do that every chance I get! Nor is it that I think, just because I’m his mother, that I have a right to dictate what those dreams should and should not be. I honestly don’t.

But, honestly, I am a mom!!! You don’t suddenly drop this kind of bomb on me when I’m in a meeting with someone we’ve just met. Give me time to process the idea! I mean, it’s Japan!!!

Now, to be fair, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Japan…except that it’s almost the exact opposite of us on a globe. A small thing, really, until it’s to scale. Of all the reasons I can think of why this is a bad idea, mostly it comes down to this: It’s too far away for me!!!

I am getting used to the idea. I’ve done a good job resisting the temptation to talk him out of it. I haven’t even brought it up (to him), because I know I would try to talk him out of it. But it’s a struggle. New York City? Fine. L.A.? Fine. But Tokyo? I’m not ready for that!

A Look Forward

  • Posted on July 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM

As the boys grow older, there are some things that are hard to ignore. Their bodies are maturing and we need to help them understand that. They’re heading for major life transitions and we need to develop a plan for what their lives will look like after school. There are choices to make, services to acquire, and things to set in motion.

These things are difficult in the sense that they consume time and energy. They need to be planned and those plans need to be led, not by Mark or me, but by our children who will be living those plans—for better or worse. These things are easy in the sense that there are choices, paths, and opportunities. We can do something about these things.

Sometimes thoughts sneak up on me that I did not expect. Earlier this week, as I was talking with our friend about her young children, it occurred to me that we might someday have a similar discussion about our children’s children. If scientists are to be believed, the human race—like every other species on earth—has a natural impetus to reproduce. The mating process encourages survival of the fittest. If all that is true, then there seems to be a lot of unanswered questions, like how “fitness” is decided and why social structures perpetuate qualities that do not seem to be in the best interest of the species.

Personally, I believe man-made science seeks to explain what God already understands, because God created a system that truly works. I know, despite our best efforts, we’ll never completely understand how the universe works, because we have finite minds and a system like the universe works on levels far beyond what we can grasp. As an example, what are the full implications of light that can act as both a particle and a wave? Why must light be both a particle and a wave to serve its purpose?

Whether or not my children have children of their own isn’t going to be determined by science or who is fittest, but by the choices they make and what God wills for them. That’s what I believe. Yet I think there’s something to that natural impetus. I’m too young for grandchildren, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want my children to be able to have children of their own. I think that should be between them and whoever they might conceive the child with. It’s not up to me, nor should it be. It’s not up to the government, nor should it be. It’s not up to society or any self-entitled group or person.

Unfortunately, human society has produced numerous people and groups that believe they should have the power to make those kinds of decisions. This results in dramatic, world-changing affairs like the Holocaust and the other genocides that have been committed in the name of various forms of purity—as if any kind of purity could be acquired by drenching the earth in human blood. This also results in less dramatic, but equally evil affairs like forced sterilization and denial of reproductive rights.

I can influence many things about my children’s future. I can fight with every ounce of my being that eugenics does not prevail. Yet I know that this silent, hidden enemy is alive and well and plays a very current, if less dramatic role, in contemporary society. I don’t want to look into the future and see this possibility, but denial doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

True Dawn

  • Posted on May 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a time to look back, and remember those who have sacrificed to make this country a place to be free. Instead, I look ahead and ask myself if it is freedom that I see.

There’s something on the edge of thought—a feeling to be written of that isn’t quite ready to come out, not quite ready to be exposed. Frustration is there, and so is disappointment. All swirled together with a steady, flat kind of hope.

The future. Was does it hold for my children?

I stare ahead, and it stares back at me, with its blurry lines and undefined shape. I don’t know what it is I see. I have hope that it will be good, but it’s more of a “good enough” than a “what my children deserve.” I look ahead, and I see frustrations and disappointments, like obstacles and obstructions, obscuring my view. The hope weaves through them, or around them, or over them. But they’re there.

I have hope that I can make a good life for my children, and I have hope that they will, in time, be able to make a good life for themselves. I know they will face frustrations and disappointments. I can accept both the hope and the obstacles.

Yet, there’s still something unsettling about that which I almost see. It’s like the gray cast of a false dawn, spread across the sky to the horizon. I don’t know what it is I see. I look, I try, but still… It leaves me unsettled. Not because of the ignorance. We never really know what the future holds. No, the dissonance is something else. It’s the false dawn, the grayness and the smears of washed-out colors.

The world is not ready to allow us our freedom. That is what I see. Despite all those who have sacrificed to leave freedom for their descendants to inherit, the world is not ready for us to have it. But we will not wait.

We are stepping into the future one day at a time. And there will be a place for my children. A good place, though only “good enough.” There will be places for others like my children, both children and adults. Many, including myself, are working hard for those places. But that gray sky, those smeared colors…all our work is not going to be enough. When those of us who are raising children now have adult children, in the stead of our little ones, there will still be work to do, for us and for them. Because the world isn’t ready for us. Even if their places are “good enough,” they will not be “what our children deserve,” and there will always be others whose places are not even “good enough.”

Perhaps that is the way it will always be—that false dawn, the constant demand for improvement and progress, not just in technology, but in how human we regard each other and what that means to us. But, then I think, the dawn—the true dawn—must come. It always does.