Insightful

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November 25, 2016, Chula Vista-  Son is steadily healing and uses a “space boot” on his left foot, so he’s more mobile than a month ago.  Still, this is not the time for him to go back to full-on hiking mode, and this weekend will find me taking short, but beneficial walks, as I did this afternoon, on a loop of Rice Canyon Trail and the parallel Rancho del Rey Parkway.  It was fitting that I began at Discovery Park and ended at Explorer Park, both named by children of Chula Vista, and geared towards families.

Another aspect of the day was that I finished re-reading “The Celestine Prophecy”, a novel which speculates on the evolution of the human spirit.  It postulates nine insights, which are summarized at:

http://www.gurus.org/dougdeb/Courses/bestsellers/Celestine/Insights.htm.

There is an interesting mix of profundity (the insights and the challenges they present) and hokum (“The Mayans went to a specific spot near Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, and built pyramids”; Peruvian agents broke into an American scientist’s home and stole his copies of the first two insights).  Nonetheless, each of the insights is compatible with my own Faith.  What is also true, though, is that the state of human consciousness described by the ninth insight is probably a good thousand years in the making. We could easily achieve the goals described by the first eight, in the meantime.

I am particularly interested in the notion that children deserve more respect than many are willing to give them.  Adults are seen by Redfield as exemplars and mentors, not as controllers. Also, speaking about anyone in the third person, when they are present, is correctly viewed by the author, James Redfield, as an onerous practice.  So, too, is the notion that an authority figure is needed to interpret Scripture to the laity.  This cornerstone of the concept of clerical primacy is challenged by Redfield, in the nine insights, and is the basis for the conflict in the story.  The near-infantilization of the human race is viewed as outmoded and evil.

I have gone through many of the personal growth dilemmas presented by Redfield, including a host of what he calls control dramas (Intimidator, self-pitier, interrogator and aloof).  Entire decades have seen me in self-pity mode, and a fair amount of my life has found me aloof.  There is also his concept of “addiction to another person”, which he views as a misguided attempt to unite a person’s male and female sides, by attachment to a person of the opposite gender.  The eighth insight prescribes a person finding those two sides, and making peace with both, within oneself, and being a platonic friend to members of the opposite gender, first, rather than “rushing into romance”.

So, much of what is found in these pages is what many of us are already doing in our lives.  It would have a fine thing, though, if I had realized, and practiced, these concepts, a long time ago.

Paternity and Patriarchy

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June 21, 2015, Monroe, WA-  I will continue with my photoblogs and Road to 65, upon getting these thoughts out.  Today was my second Father’s Day with no father figure.  Every man who is older than I am, is now a senior peer- good for some advice, while not one who has emotional investment in my well-being.

I am now at the patriarchal stage of life.  This is the natural order of things, and something one ought to treasure- not as an authority figure, but as one who is a trusted mentor.  I am the eldest of my parents’ children, and though I have hardly always been the wisest, I feel responsible for my siblings, nieces and nephews, as well as for my son- though each and every one of them is doing just fine without my daily input.

A father is responsible for ALL his children.  Some time ago, a man said- “Well, easy for you to say.  You have one son and no daughters.”  That is happenstance.  Had I a household of nine or ten, it’d be the same. Every child matters- and fathers are needed by both genders of offspring.  I would dare say, further, that the more challenged a child is, the more he or she needs both parents to be actively involved in his or her life.

I have ached today, at reading some accounts by women who feel that they have no close bond with their father.  I have read posts by women who suffer, seeing that the father of their child has only a fleeting connection to that child- and the child in question is just as likely to be a boy, as to be a girl. Every child matters.

I was, and am, far from a perfect parent, and very much doubt that perfection exists in this aspect of our lives.  That does not excuse anyone from putting their best foot forward.  Both of my parents did their level best with their roles,as they understood those roles.  They knew parenthood to be their most important job.  This awareness was passed along to us, and we, in turn, have passed it along to our children.  My nieces and nephews are doing a fine job, in their turn.  I have observed Aram, in his moments as a surrogate parent, and he will do just fine, when the time comes.

My middle brother once said, “Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a Daddy.”  This is all too true- but it should not be!  A child should be able to follow the natural inclination to call his father “Dada”, “Papa”, “Dad”.  There will never be a time when that title, (first used by Aram towards me, when he was just shy of two and sang a song that he made up, on that very special Father’s Day of 1990), will not be the greatest I’ve ever held.

May the day come when each parent can be honoured on their given day, and every day, in all honesty, by each of their children.