It's Sunday afternoon and I know I should be talking about politics or something important, and I imagine some of that may creep into this blog. But I am thinking that I don't really want to be serious today, and that there will be plenty of time for all that later, like tomorrow. I know, I know, tomorrow never comes, and we don't know how much time we really have at any given moment, blah blah blah. It's just another Sunday. After a massive thunderstorm at one am last night with an equally impressive display of flashing lightening -- I felt I was inside a strobe light in 1967 -- the air is a bit cooler today, and clear of dust, and the sun is out making me feel lazy.
Xander spent an extra night this weekend so Nik and Holli could attend an afternoon wedding and not have to worry about picking him up. It never ceases to amaze me how a four-year-old can dominate your day non-stop. Thank God there are two of us! At the same time, it is also remarkable to watch him grow and learn and develop. He is also remarkably self disciplined for a child his age, and still likes savory foods, which makes it easy to get along with the little bagger. By seven last night Xander was asking for a story and we read six -- all four stories in Maurice Sendak's Nutshell Library, and then by special request The Very Dangerous Alphabet by Niel Gaiman, and finally, by special special request the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. He sat through three and a half stories without moving, then got wiggly for the rest but still attended and listened. It was the longest reading session we've had yet. By next year I plan to start reading him A Child's History of the World.
Now for the serious bit. I can tie it in because I have a grandson who soon will be beginning his career as a student, and students can be bullied by others or become bullies -- both outcomes I hope he studiously avoids. He is being brought up to respect others, and I suspect he will always be too physically large for others to mess with, so I am not too worried. But bullying is an issue that seems to be making headlines almost every day.
Yesterday in the news there was talk of the wrongness of bullied kids taking the law into their own hands, so to speak, and turning the tables on the bullies with the encouragement of their parents. Fascinating, the outrage. I do not condone vigilanty activity of any kind. But I seem to recall that a major plot line in one of our most popular Christmas stories, A Christmas Story, centers on the protagonist retaliating against a bully violently. It's ingrained in our culture. Just an observation.
Americans believe in direct and forceful solutions to complicated problems. It's who we are. It gets us into trouble sometimes, because we lack subtlty and we display arrogance, as if ours were the only way to do things, and we are reluctant to see anyone else's point of view. Others might be just as short-sighted, but they are not my concern right now. We have issues we must confront. In a politcal arena so rabidly divided, in an economic arena so obviously flawed, and with an educational crisis so amazingly huge, America has become a second rate power -- we are Great Britain in 1946, and yet we do not see it.
I do not mind the direct approach. It has its place. When Xander says "Tickel me!" I do it.