I realized this morning that since I've been devoted to the Winter Feast of the Soul meditations, my eyes have changed. I had scattered reading glasses all over the house, but I haven't been using them. I also realized I am reading more because it is again comfortable to read. I had been going between the different magnifications and the whole thing was uncomfortable. This morning I realized I can read those teeny-tiny numbers in the phone book. I have been doing the meditations hoping to be a kinder, more compassionate, peaceful and tolerant person. That may be hard to measure, but being able to read the phone book is quite the thing.
So, my local paper, the Mill Valley Herald arrives with the news that our local library had a resident owl for a few days. I am reminded of the book Dewey, about a kitten that was dropped into a library book drop box, and through then residing in the library brought reading, connection and enthusiasm to the town. It is a true story about a wonderful cat. It reminded me of our beloved Cat Mandu, who lived to over twenty years and took incredible care of our household.
There is a comic in the Mill Valley Herald by Lippy called Fault Lines. I can't give you the pictures but use your imagination. Following are the words. Begin by picturing President Obama standing on top of a high-dive, his arms out, on his toes, perfect diving form.
Here's President Obama attempting a spine-twisting triple somersault stimulus with an inside-out compromise finish!
Nice form on the takeoff. Looks like the country is with him ....
OOOH! A deftly-delivered backhand, and here comes the hardest part - The Compromise Finish!
Damn! Those nasty Republicans have drained the pool. Still, he comes up a winner! There's just no stopping this guy.
He crashes right through the bottom of the waterless pool. Hooray, for President Obama!!
I recently read that there is a place in the brain for envy. It might explain the Republicans desire to bring us all down, at the expense of some strange vendetta against the Democrats. I wonder now if more Democrats meditate than Republicans and if that closes down that place in the brain or changes it so Democrats are more open to and aware of the importance of uniting and helping all of us here, all of us, animal and plant.
In the Buddhist Review, Tricycle, there is a review of the book The Self-Esteem Trap, Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance. The review is by Mary Talbot. At this point, we may all be familiar with the term "helicopter parenting," the parent who so hovers over the child they never get a chance to make their own mistakes, face adversity or grow. She gives this example.
"By way of illustrating the pervasive phenomenon of what Young-Eisendrath calls "helicopter" parenting - adults who hover over their kids and do everything for them - I can mention a phone call a friend told me about that the dean of her son's college received from a student's mother, halfway across the country. "He doesn't know where the bread in the dining room is," the mother admonished. "Can you make sure someone shows him?"
Oh, my! One can only feel sorry for this kid.
According, to Mary Talbot, Young-Eisendrath has some suggestions. "Parents can circumvent the influences of peers and mass culture by introducing kids to a version of the six perfections, or paramis. Cultivating generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration and wisdom "should be viewed as exercises or activities" for parents and children to practice together, she suggests. Discipline, for example, can take the form of structured family routines and chores, which can lead "to true self-confidence and self-worth," Young-Eisendrath says. "When a sound conscience meets up with the superego in later adolescence, an ordinary child has the makings of wisdom, even before adult life has unfolded."
It sounds like a worthy way to educate our children to me.
Yesterday, I was watching Zach go "potty" along with two other children at his school. He does the whole process himself now, but almost forgot to wash his hands. Rema, his teacher, informed me that is part of it. A child is not truly "potty-trained" until they are responsible for every aspect of it, including the washing of hands.
It takes time to allow a child to do things by themselves, and how important it is. Zach left the water running for the little girl behind him. I thought of the drought and knew that his consideration and awareness of another were the most important gifts and learnings of all.