Value of Effort

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”
Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

It is such an easy thing to forget. For what do we strive? Even for those who say “the all mighty dollar,” is it the money or the things we will (not might) do with it? I’d hate to waste my life for a sheet of paper. Writ large for our society, the same remains true. What is to be the use of being the strongest wealthiest people/country in history?
On another more local note, our family continues without sleep…night after night.  For the past 2 nights my kids have added to the mix and peed themselves, and I am somewhat at a loss.  They both get up in the night to play even when they start in different rooms.  This morning I realized how tired I was last night when I got up and stepped on a matchbox car which A had lined up along the floor with a couple dozen other cars and trucks.  As I looked around, I saw her shirtless, asleep at the foot of the bed.
Thinking about it afterwards, I wonder if she takes comfort in lining up the cars as it is something in her life which she has power to make orderly.  Her mind is very grounded in concrete truths.  In a chaotic life of varying degrees of abstract truths where she assimilates more change at an ever more rapid pace, perhaps the lining up of cars is her minds way of asserting enough control to allow for rest.  She has brought order to that corner of her life.  I used to wonder why she always made her cars sit in traffic jams moving each of them 1 inch forward at a time instead of racing around like I see most kids play.  I hate traffic, but then I never considered how the slow motion might be calming.
I, of course, slept through everything.  That’s my mind’s way when the days grow ever longer, and respite from confusion and pain seems further away. Time in a loving wife’s embrace seems such a distant goal.  Still, even on a morning where I hurt from lack of rest,  I take great solace that my time and effort is spent on something more valuable than paper.  As someone to whom much has been given, I hope I spend raising the value of our family’s culture, and through them our society as a whole may gain.  What more should we ask?

2 thoughts on “Value of Effort”

  1. Wow. I’m touched. Thank you.

    I have come to enjoy writing in a way I never thought I would back in the days of classes and assignments. I’ve surprisingly come to need writing. When things go wrong, I find myself pausing in moments of frustration to wonder how things will look with the subtle passing of time. Will the current frustration be sad, funny, or perhaps offer some insight? I need the thought of perhaps someday writing about the incidents to provide my calm, like A’s traffic jams. With 4 dogs currently for a few more weeks and 3 medically fragile kids to go with my MS and full time job, I need calm.

  2. Very honorable reflections. It’s encouraging to know someone is not bent on money and success like so many. And you write so beautifully, always tying personal and touching anecdotes like that of A and the calm of traffic together. Thank you!

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