I had a blog about the current state of education ready to post, but decided instead to share a thought or two about the things I have to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving eve.
To begin with, I am thankful that I live in a country where I can write the sort of drivel I write without the fear of storm troopers beating down my door and taking me off to prison, and in a century when medical science has come to the point where they can help people like me dodge fatal bullets. And I marvel at the technical prowess that allows me to type words and with a push of a button share them with the world — which at present consists of a few loyal friends.
But above all, I am thankful for my loving family, my wife of nearly fifty years, two wonderful sons who have good jobs and are happily married, each with two daughters whose future, I must confess, I do worry about. My generation seems to be leaving this world worse off than we found it. And I am thankful for good friends like Dana Yost, a writer extrodinary whose range and ability to express himself is boundless, our mutual friend Dave Pichaske, an exceptional teacher, loyal supporter of women’s athletics at his university, a terrific wordsmith with a wide range of publications to his credit, and who gives relentless support to the writers around him. And also my friend and former student Bruce Mate whose optimism in a world gone a bit crazy buoys me up in moments of doubt — especially since he has seen so much more of the world than I ever have or could dream of having done. During a recent exchange about global warming, for example, he sent me this jewel:
“If one believes in God, (S)he is one hell of an engineer to come up with a system that copes literally with all circumstances. Truly amazing to put into motion ….right down to (and perhaps fundamentally) the smallest details like quarks and neutrinos. So, on the flip-side for those Bible literalists, perhaps we are in the very long ‘seventh day’ when God rested and said it was good. I wonder what will be happening on the 8th day when it doesn’t look like giving us ‘dominion’ over all of this has worked out so well. I wish there had been a biblical translation or contract that instead read, ‘stewardship with annual reviews and right of refusal.’ Maybe extinctions should just be looked at as ‘termination notices’ (cease and desist orders). It feels like human greed has put us into a reverse mortgage program living off of the accumulated corpus of Nature’s evolutionary endowment. Well, we know how it works out in the real world to mess with the balance sheet, right?….but I don’t think printing more money or bumping up the debt is going to work this time. Despite all of that I still smile daily, I love my wife, I enjoy my 4 grand-children, and I remain optimistic that I will do my best to make it better.”
I will return to my harangues and pithy observations later in the week, But for now, it is time to give thanks.