vendredi, janvier 16, 2009

From the Yellow House to the White House.

I've never been crazy about predictable people--and I guess that includes columnists. Assuming that columnists are people, instead of a committee of people. But I came across a column that suprised me with its hope, and its graciousness and its sense of history. This opinion piece was written by Michael Gerson, a regular commentator for the Washington Post. Entitled "Words for This Journey" it's a meditation on what Barack Obama can say to us at this extraordinarily historic moment.

At the same time, the columnist calls on the President to lift high the bloody flag of commonality.

This hope of unity is stronger than all the hypocrisy of our past and louder than the clank of chains. It led men and women to travel on immigrant ships and the Underground Railroad -- and it explains the amazing journey from the Yellow House to a white one just down the street.

I can't do this justice. Click the link and read it for yourself.

A senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Gerson was a speechwriter for our soon to be former President. He's also a Christian, and, judging from his columns, an extremely thoughtful man. If he was all about polemics, a Rush or a Frank (bright as they are), I wouldn't have time for them. I'm so tired of writers who stoke the fires of antagonism.

But it seems that Gerson, and perhaps a few others, have caught the spirit of hope that pushes a few slim buds amidst the cracked earth. Perhaps we, too, can be inspired...and become a part of the healing--signs of spring in our own communities.

mercredi, janvier 14, 2009

Kids and cats ...

One of my friends, childless herself, likes to claim that fostering manners in children is basically a lost art. I engage in the conversation as though I could address the topic with perfect indifference. Which, of course, I can't.

After reading an article by pediatrician Perri Klass on the subject of raising children who are gracious and polite, I recalled a fairly few recent instance at the doctors where one of mine had a meltdown when the doctor said that "they" (to protect the guilty) would have to get a shot.

Even our pediatrician, a cheerful, down-to-earth and motherly woman who has known the kids since they were babies, started to sound strained in the face of tears and fear and general tantrum.

Was this child's poor self-control my parental responsibility? Did fear (face it, who likes getting a shot?) outweigh years of education in appropriate social behavior? Or is learning that the world doesn't revolve around oneself an ongoing part of maturation?

I tend to think the latter. But I'm always aware of my shortcomings in this regard -- and waiting for an expert like Dr. Klass to draw it to my attention.

I guess I shouldn't give up on training the cats, either.

lundi, janvier 12, 2009

Evening in Venice

It was one of those evenings that seems to progress, if that is the correct word, in fits and starts. Sometimes we rushed forward, sometimes we stalled. The DQ and I determined to finish the episode of "Brideshead Revisted." But by the time we really got into it, Mr C wanted to go to sleep. When I got back to the series, they were in Venice. As I watched the boatmen and the seaside and the palaces, the gentlemen walking arms thrown around each other's shoulders, I wondered what my 13 year old was thinking. At her age, I took in all of the (admittedly staged) sights and sounds of 1920's Europe like a morning glory opening its petals to the summer sun. Listening to Jeremy Iron's wonderfully upper class accent isolating each word of Waugh's novel and making it elegantly vibrant, half aware of his lovely face...she yawned. Yawned.

That is closer to sacrilege than anything Sebastian, Charles and Julia did. But somehow we navigated Venice, and returned to London in the rain.

I wonder what my daughter will remember. And for me? I will try to expose her to culture outside of her experience, while reminding myself that she doesn't need to love Jeremy Irons to be my daughter. But it don't hurt.