Saturday, April 14, 2012

Who are the rules for?

My kids are special. They are the smartest, funniest, most honest people I've ever met. They are better than your kids. I think that, while rules are important, my kids are so amazing that if they skirt the rules a little bit, that's okay, because they aren't like those other, ordinary people for whom the rules are made.

My students, too. They work hard and they or their parents make sacrifices so they can follow their muse. I should be able to bend the rules for them, especially when the rules don't make sense, or when they'd do better if they got to just ignore them.

And, frankly, while we're on the subject, there are a lot of rules that I'd be better off ignoring as well. Sometimes following rules is just so damned inconvenient; if I'm doing what needs to be done, then why should I have to dot every "i" and cross every "t." Plus I'm super smart, smarter than you in point of fact, so I should get a pass.

Why am I so pissy about this today? Because I follow the rules, sometimes at significant personal inconvenience or expense, and then I find out that somebody else is getting away with blowing them off. And frankly, I don't think I would get away with it, and I don't think I, or anyone, should be given the option to make the choice about which rules to follow.

You don't like the rules? Get them changed. Refuse to follow them and take the consequences. You shouldn't get to pick and choose which rules to follow, but still get the credential, or avoid the ticket, or receive the award.

It just pisses me off.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


My daughter stood at the boards of the local ice rink, where we skate together two days a week. We were NOT having a good practice. I can't turn anymore. She can't jump anymore.

"I think this part of my life may be over," she said, tearing up.

I don't know what to say.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Different lives

Your children live such different lives than you.

Generations ago this wasn't true. You lived the life your mother, and your grandmother, and probably your 5 times great grandmother lived. Change came slowly; your family situation was immutable to a large extent.

Enter the 20th Century and the dislocation of tens of millions (hundreds of millions?) from the agrarian past. Without the connection to the land and the community, there was really no reason to try to live the life your father lived, and your grandfather's and great grandfather's life was now out of reach. Those on the land continued, perhaps, to follow their ancient traditions and lifestyles, but those in the cities couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't need to. And the cities increasingly beckoned more and more people from the life on the farm, where the rhythms were becoming increasingly urban, or at least controlled by people whose rhythms were urban.

Suddenly there was this strange modern thing called "choice."

But your children's lives will also differ in more personal ways. My own family had broken down by the time I was my children's ages. My mother was dead, my father immersed in an increasingly remote role that had no room for me. Wei's mother remained (and remains) connected, but his elderly father died before my daughter was born.

My children retain strong bonds with us, and I can't see that changing. It was something deliberate on my part. I feel very keenly how adrift Wei and I were as young adults, without the strong anchor of a stable existing home or parents and wanted my kids to know that we were always there for them. I watch my children struggle with relationships, jobs, and, frankly poverty, and am completely nonplussed about how Wei and I handled this.  We just had to make it up; the "adults" in our lives were, for the most part, absent, or useless.

My kids know that they can come home.