Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to School...

I went to "Back to School" night last evening. Man, going back into the high school again really makes me remember tons of feelings of my own. I remember the great teachers that truly inspired me and influenced me in my subsequent decisions of life. I also remember the bad ones who were a waste of time. In one sense I have great appreciation for some of the teachers who really do try daily to "teach". I also have a great animosity for some of the teachers who are there simply "putting in the time". I guess that's true for most professions - it's just obvious with this particular one. You can see it so quickly in a "Back to School" night.

I came home and my son was really struggling with his College Algebra homework. Being the "math whiz" that I am not, but that he thinks that I am (since I have an engineering degree) I eagerly sat down at the table excited to bestow my wisdom onto the next generation... But I got stumped on a few problems and one concept in particular and it bugged me. He could tell I was frustrated. I WAS frustrated! There was no textbook, nor examples - just a list of problems. He could see how I was getting frustrated. I WAS FRUSTRATED! I hated to see his realization that his " Old Man" couldn't help him and he'd have to go in during lunch and actually talk to the teacher.

It bugged me so much that I couldn't sleep. Typically I fall asleep thinking of my angst and my own problems of "the issue" (that is the subject of this blog) and reasoning things out and talking to the Lord about them - or sometimes feeling less inspired and dropping off into a repeat same-gender fantasy of some sort - when last night I had to work out the math problem. I couldn't sleep until I knew the answer! I had to have the answer! And the answer had to be true and right! It was for my son's sake, not mine, and I had to know...

And then it came to me - it was clear - I propped myself up in bed and wrote the solution to the problem in the air above my head. It worked! I slipped quietly downstairs and pulled out his assignment and put pencil to paper so that I wouldn't forget. It was 3AM. I was so excited that "inspiration" had come. I finally went to sleep - and I had no feelings of angstiness or fantasies. All other "issues" seemed to disappear.

Morals of this so profound little story:

1. High school can be really fun, but for the most part, is not a life I would like to repeat.

2. Your "Old Man" knows most of the answers, but not all. Be patient with him as he's trying to do his best.

3. The best inspiration comes at 3AM in the morning.

4. There's nothing like a good math problem to clear the mind of all other "problems" in life.

5. Sometimes our answers come after really sweating over them, and working them out ourselves - without a textbook or example problems - and coming to our own realizations with a little help or inspiration along the way (how does it go: "97% sweat, 3% inspiration"?)

6. Is there a corollary here to how we learn from our eternal "Old Man"?

Happy new school year for those of you returning to the books... Glad it's you and not me!


playasinmar said...

Shake your fist skyward and impotently shout, “Youth today!”

Y'know, while you're feeling old and all.

GeckoMan said...

Thanks, you've demonstrated several principles of how inspiration works in our lives: that which we really care about, am focused on, seek help for, struggle with, will eventually yield answers.

And ofcourse the bonus feature is you're one smart Old Man! But, please, tell me you didn't just hand over the brilliant answer without guiding him to its discovery with helpful hints? Is there any corollary in that?

Switch said...

Shake your fist skyward and impotently shout, “Youth today!”

Y'know, while you're feeling old and all.

Pssht. I do that all the time.

Abelard Enigma said...

Y'know, while you're feeling old and all.

My son always chides me when I start to say "I remember when ..." (gas was 80¢/gallon, candy bars were a nickel, or whatever floats into my brain at the time). He says I should just save everybody time and say "I'm old" and leave it at that. If I'm remembering something from way back when then I can say "I'm really old"

Beck said...

You young whippersnappers are missing out on the whole point of the story (minus Gecko)!!! :)

I know I'm old. Thanks for the reminder. But you realize, I just need to look in the mirror to be reminded (and I need to be reminded frequently... Alzeimer's you know...)

But look at the metaphorical language of the story that I thought was appropriate for so many of our other posts and feelings. Any comments along those lines?

Beck said...


I caught him before he went out to school and explained the principle and gave him the solution to one of the problems so that he could see the example - and then I sent him out to the cold cruel world of high school.

We don't get a detailed "textbook" and "examples" aren't always applicable. Sometimes they are more forthcoming, other times they are silent dealing with our particular challenges. The missing textbook or inappropriate example or silence from above doesn't mean that answers can't be found, inspired ones even, and yes, helpful hints are received through sparks of clear thinking - but wouldn't it be nice to have more helpful hints? As much as the 97% persperation is acknowledged as necessary for the process of receiving light and further knowledge, does it really have to be so hard?

J G-W said...

Beck - This is not "like" how inspiration works. This "is" how inspiration works.

I can't tell you how many nights I've had to roll myself out of bed at 2 or 3 a.m., sneak downstairs to turn on the computer, and start typing away, only to roll back into bed an hour or two later (realizing that the alarm clock was going to start sounding FAR TOO EARLY). It's the only way I can get my mind to stop working. It's gotten so bad, I've taken to keeping a little diary and a miniature reading light on the nightstand.

Too much of my days are spent thinking, thinking, and prayers are spent pleading, pleading. I spend a lot of time giving thanks in my prayers too, but so often just praying in "sighs too deep for words." Finding inspiration is hard work!

It's also about organizing our lives the right way. In this case, I like that your purpose in seeking inspiration was your love for your son. Maybe a little bit of ego, wanting to be his hero. But a lot of love too. Wanting to be there for him in a meaningful way.

My purpose in seeking inspiration is also love -- love for God, love for my partner, love for our future foster kid (coming soon!), and love for you and all my other Moho brothers. That's what keeps me motivated to work at getting my life in order so that the Spirit can be present without hindrance. Love!

GeckoMan said...

John, what a beautiful idea: "getting my life in order so that the Spirit can be present without hindrance." Now there is clear motivation we don't refer to often enough in our quest for reasons. I'll have to remember that.

Beck, If you felt good and grand in helping your son with the principle and finding the answer, think of how HF feels when we accept his help and make progress.