Saturday, March 27, 2010


My parents had hard childhoods. They didn't have much, which, I think, contributed to the two parental goals they established. The first goal was that they wanted us to realize that life was about more than what you see around you every day. In order to teach us that, we traveled. Now, please know that my parents were blue-collar, hard-working people, so traveling didn't fit easily into our budget and it was considered extravagant by friends and family.

To put it in context, my mom worked at a meat-packing plant and then went on to shovel steel shavings for years in a manufacturing plant. I can remember her coming home from work from both jobs. From the first, she'd smell of meat - can't even say it was a pleasant smoke smell - it was a MEAT smell. They unloaded and killed the animals there by electrocuting them and my mom used to talk about how horrible it was to work in that environment. When she shoveled steel shavings, she came home filthy. Black, head to toe. I can't imagine what it was like to step into the shower like that with the goal of washing away that stubborn layer but never really being able to be successful because those tiny shavings had a way of digging themselves into your skin and hiding in places that made it impossible to feel free of them.

My dad worked in the foundry and on the manufacturing line. He was union. I can remember the strikes and the UAW meetings and seeing the local TV personalities at the meetings (Dr. Max & Mombo). I also remember him working third shift and stubbornly fitting classes into his life because he was determined to get his B.A. - I think for a lot of reasons: (1) He wanted to prove to himself that he could do it, he was good enough. (2) He had a strong belief that education opened doors in your mind and in the world. (3) He wanted us to know that education wasn't optional. (4) He wanted "management" to know that he wasn't just a cog in the wheel.

Back to the goals.....their second goal was to ensure their kids had better lives than they did. I think I can say they achieved their goal........

WELL. all of this was just a long introduction to my "a-ha" moment yesterday. I realized that I haven't clearly defined my parental goals. Of course, I had this "a-ha" moment while someone was sharing their life with me. I find part of the beauty of people is that they remind me of so many things.

I think I'll adopt my parents' goal of teaching that life is not what you see around you every day. I haven't done a good job of that. Yes, my kids have traveled but I don't think they've truly been exposed to the radical differences in the way people live. I'll need to be more purposeful about that.

I think the other goal I want to set is making sure my kids live life consciously. I want them to really be on purpose about knowing who and how they want to be, what they want to do, and what they want to have. It's only when they know those things that they can truly ensure that each moment is dedicated to the pursuit of those outcomes - or if it's not - I want them to be fully aware of the choices they are making. I want them to know when they're sacrificing their dreams, what they're sacrificing them for, and think about whether it was worth it.

So, dream journals will become a regular part of our lives and our discussions. In fact, I'm going to put it on the calendar. Maybe I'll make it a monthly event. We'll plan something special. We'll have a sleepover together or we'll go out to eat, but it'll be part of us.

I want to create knowingness and blooming.

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