Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Guess who I saw today?

Many years ago I was a schoolteacher. I like to say that I spent four years of college knowing I wanted to be a teacher (and refusing to listen to the incredulity in people's voices when they found out that was my major)and my first two years out of college learning that was not my calling. The second year I taught I had a student named "W". As I was walking down the hall the first day of school, one of the other teachers said "I see you got "W" this year"--and it wasn't like I was lucky to have him. "W" had spent two years in first grade and was in his second year of second grade--and for all practical purposes he couldn't read. As would be expected of a child who was that far behind, he was a behavior problem; yet there was some goodness there that always struck me--and maybe I related to him because I too was struggling to do something at which I was not succeeding. I taught a lot of kids those years, but the only one I can say I've ever had a real interest in meeting again and seeing how he was doing was "W". Today I got my chance.

Quite a few times this last school year I've seen a school bus with "W"'s first initial and last name on it. The school busses here are owned by the drivers and their names are on them. I've wondered if that was him. Today as I was returning to my office from lunch, I saw W's bus turn into a gas station. I entered it as well, and went over to speak to him. Yes, he was my "W". I told him that I was glad to see that he had made it in life, and that he was one of the few kids I remembered, because he was such a nice kid. He said that besides driving the school bus he also owned a limo service and that God had blessed him with everything he needed. He said that now all he needed was a wife--that he hadn't had children yet because it wasn't right to have them and not be there for them.

I didn't ask him what he remembered of me. I do remember that we mailed out report cards that year and that I wrote letters to all the kids and put them in those envelopes. I wrote "W" a long letter, basically telling him he was good and congratulating him on what he did well. A friend I worked with told me that on the first day of school the next year he came looking for me, and was not happy not to find me there. There were times this overwhelmed young teacher was probably less than kind to that overwhelmed child so I hope his memories of me are not horrible. He was pleasant to me today, and seeing him made my day.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The DaVinci Code

Ok, everyone else it seems has said their two cents worth about the book or movie, now it is my turn. I just finished the book and found it to be an enjoyable page-turner. It held my interest, even though, as I often do when reading books like that, I had already checked the last chapter to make sure everyone survived. I will also say that I generally prefer reading bodice-buster romances to classic literature. I have always loved to read but generally did not enjoy literature classes at school--or many of the books we were assigned to read.

But what about what it has to say about the Church? If you haven't read it, basically the premise of the book is that Jesus and Mary Magedelean were married and had a child--a child who has descendents living today in France. The "Holy Grail" is Mary Magedelean and some papers buried with her which basically show that Jesus was a feminist, that he meant for MM to be the head of the Church, not Peter. They say that Constantine, who was a pagan, decided to make Christianity the religion of the empire and basically merged pagan and Christain symbols and beliefs, and got rid of "the sacred feminine" turning Christianity into a male-dominated religion rather than one that honored the life-giving woman. Of course the Church is threatened by these and doesn't want them revealed.

The book starts with a murder in the Lourve, a murder that takes place in such a way that the victim has about 15 minutes to get a message to someone. He uses an elaborate code based on the works of DaVinci as interpreted by Dan Brown, to lead his grandaughter to the Grail. The book ends with everything wrapped up neatly and happily. That's the ending I like. As far as what the book says or doesn't say about the Church--well, I don't believe it is true, so I just enjoyed the book as fiction and let the "lies" go.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Required Reading

I love to read, I have always loved to read. If anything I spend too much time reading. Why is it then that I find so many books on required reading lists to be odious? My son is required to read two books this summer. Unfortunately, right now we aren't 100% sure which two books those are. His high school has four tracks. The summer reading list we got shows that she should be reading the books for a particular track--but his admission to that school was conditioned on him attending their summer program--a program in which they are supposed to read one of their summer reading books. However, the book they are reading is for a different track than the one assigned through the mail. When I called the school I was told that a determination of the track on which he will be placed will be made following the summer program.

Right now he is reading Whirlygig which he says is ok. If he moves up to the next track, he will have to read A Lesson Before Dying, which doesn't sound real exciting to me. Are these books supposed to make the kids love to read? Who decides that these are "good" books anyway?

For Social Studies, he may have to read Secret History by Procopius. At least it is short--I checked it out tonite so that I'll have it read before he starts. I love to read, I love history and this doesn't hold any attraction to me. Surely there is something out there that the kids would enjoy more and that would teach them about the ancient world.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Breast is Best?

If you want my opinion on this topic, let me tell you that I'm a working mom who has nursed three kids past a year, two who never used up the free formula from the hospital--one of whom is still nursing at 25 months. Of course I think breast is best, and I can't for the life of me figure out why some moms go into the hospital having decided to bottle feed their babies from day one. I have so enjoyed nursing mine that I feel as sorry for the moms as for the babies. By the time number three arrived I had pretty much decided that the baby was going to eat where she wanted when she wanted and if other people had a problem with it--it was their problem not mine.

All that being said, I'm leery of the move to guilt moms into breastfeeding. Educate them yes, but while breast is best when all things are equal, things are rarely equal. Sometimes milk production is low (perhaps because of a problem with mom, or perhaps because of problems with the baby's suck--which is what I think happened with my son)and mom doesn't need someone trying to tell her she's a failre when she feeds her baby. Much as some online would like to portray working moms as self-centered materialistic hedonists who care more for their BMW's and fancy vacations than for their children, most working moms I know are working to pay house notes on moderate houses, grocery bills and to provide health insurance for their families. I'm fortunate to have a job and work enviornment conduceive to breastfeeding, but for many workers an office with a door that locks, or the ability to get away for 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon are nothing but a dream. I say let your baby enjoy the mom he or she has; don't make both of you miserable because you can't be the mom someone else thinks you should be.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Declare a Fast

In the Old Testament people saw misfortune as a sign of God's displeasure. Some people see that even today. Others, like me, see it as a result of original sin, but not necessarily as God being displeased about anything in particular. However, I do believe that prayers can either keep misfortune away or help us through it. As noted elsewhere on this blog, a major misfortune in this area has been Hurricane Katrina. Well, as everyone on the Gulf Coast knows, hurricane season started again today. We all know that bad storms aren't likely until later in the summer but with all the FEMA trailers and debris about, even "small' hurricanes sound scary--and the forecasters are saying we are the city most likely to get hit this year. With all this in mind Archbishop Hughes has declared a fast this Friday. He has asked that we follow the fasting and abstinence rules for Ash Wed/Good Friday and pray for safety from storms this year. Want to join us?

View My Stats