Questions That Have No Answers

Eighth grade teacher Mrs. P was in a bit of emotional turmoil.  Though the details were sketchy, it was  becoming clear that soon she would no longer be married to Mr. P. In her English class, she iterated the quote “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and followed it with “of somebody else.” 

As middle-school boys will do, one of them had found something that was an affront to Mrs. P’s sensibilities, and she decided to chase the perpetrator down, even so far as the boy’s locker room. These days that could lead to a direct exit from the district, but at that time Coach R calmly and respectfully explained to Mrs. P, despite her protest, how she could damage a young ego by seeing their privates (“junk” was not the euphemism of the day). The truth of the matter was that certain boys would have liked nothing better than to flash Mrs. P, so Coach R was as much trying to protect Mrs. P as the boy’s in the locker room.

I don’t know what happened to Mrs. P. She was a good teacher of English and I was in her homeroom for a year, but as with so many teachers, they are a major force in your life and then you move on. Perhaps it is a flaw in the system. We meet a teacher, an adult mentor in our lives, we connect with them and learn from them, and then we have to move on regardless of our connection to them. As learning becomes more computerized, will that reduce the human contact involved? We are already networking in a virtual world. If human nature remains the same, how will we adapt to the separatist isolation created by the virtual world? We are together as a team and still working individually.

With the world changing at the speed of light, the challenges are different not just from generation to generation, but for those entering college from those getting their degree. That being the case, should a teacher’s tenure be no more than 5 years so the next round of teachers can bring in the latest research and thinking? What is the formula that will produce the best results for the entire human population, and how will we make the mass of 7 to 9 billion people all contributing members of society?

There are currently somewhat more than 7 billion individuals in the world … that’s right, individuals … because everyone is one individual each wanting to be recognized with value and purpose. Seven billion visions with seven billion missions, some as basic as surviving another day, others to change the world. Some wish to govern while others break the laws established. What will the next 20 years hold?


You Don’t Have to Live Your Script

Some of us, even before we are born, are handed challenges we will face for the rest of our lives. It may be a physical defect, a lower mental capacity, or a personality disorder. We are judged the minute we are seen, and the reactions of those we come in contact with determines the view we take of ourselves.

As if that is not bad enough, often people are born into families of damaged goods. Let’s face it, only on TV in the 50’s and 60’s were people born into perfect families. Father knew best and Mother wasn’t too bad at it herself.  But such is not the case. So even if we are born with ten perfect little fingers and ten perfect little toes, it may not take long for those imperfect parental units to etch some of their imperfections into our souls.

So we may have been born the apple of our parents’ eyes, managed  our way through childhood with minimal scarring, and then wham, puberty hits, and any quirks we have now come into full bloom. Hormones run rampant and we think we can develop love interests. Some may add a person to their lives to fulfill a need, real or imagined, and that creates a dependency structure.

The journey through this life is rarely easy, and the path is not laid out before you. You are expected to blaze your own trail, and there are roots and stones and holes along the way where you will likely trip and fall. There are all sorts of animals and people darting in and out, a few  stopping to sniff at you to see if you are dead yet. Some of the people are true friends and some only appear as friends until they get what they want from you.

All of our experiences add up to the script we are now living, and the director is the voice we have developed in our head. Many of us have done well along the journey even finding a soulmate we can share the path with. While the trail can be difficult, we have found that it is well worth the effort.  We don’t cling to the past. When we fall, we get back up again and continue the journey. Sometimes we ignore the voice inside our head because it lives in the box of our comfort zone.

You can be fantastic. You can do well. But for many, it means not living out the script you were given. If you think your parents gave you a bum wrap, stop blaming them and get on with living out your life. And if you are a parent, stop trying to write the script for your children and let them be free to be who they are. That, by the way, looks a whole lot different than letting your children run the house and do whatever they want.

          May the road rise to meet you
          May the wind be always at your back
          May the sun shine warm upon your face
          May the rain fall soft upon your fields
          And until we meet again
          May God hold you in the palm of His hand
                        — Irish Blessing

People will never evolve into the creatures that we need to be. It’s a learned process.

According to experts, evolution requires years, maybe millions of years.  Even if it requires only hundreds or thousands of years to take place, it is not nearly quick enough to adapt to the onslaught of changes in the environment.  Case in point, today’s computer/smart phone driven individual who sits behind a desk most of the day, is built no differently than the ones who settled the old west.

They are barely different than the ones who gathered on the hillside to hear Jesus speak.   The point being, don’t look for human beings to evolve into a structure that better handles stresses and challenges that will be occurring more and more rapidly.

By the same token, the capacity of people to innovate is simply amazing. When you consider how things were done 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 years ago, much less 1,000 or 2,000 years ago, the changes that have taken place are mind numbing. No arguments so far, right?

Then explain to me the population of our prisons, the violence in our streets, the poverty of “third world countries”, and the list goes on. We are smart beyond belief, and yet we remain unable to solve fundamental problems that have plagued us for years. Please don’t answer with a government/political solution because it has been made abundantly clear that government is more the problem than the solution. Government did not figure out how to make and fly an aircraft, much less how to make an iPhone.

Having the smarts to create and invent does not seem to be a problem. Having the emotional intelligence to live together as a society of hard-working industrious people does appear to be a problem. Understand what emotional intelligence is. Work to increase your own emotional intelligence. Make emotional education a priority in schools, at home, in our religious institutions, throughout the country.

It’s amazing we have not destroyed ourselves with the smarts to manipulate nuclear fusion, but with no more emotional intelligence than we have. Let’s leave our children’s children a legacy they can thank us for.