My father got to grade nine before he had to quit school to get a job to contribute to his families much needed revenue. At the time, the financial hardship of the great depression made this common place.
Often, that reality divided people into two camps. Judgy perspectives formed between the two schools of thought. Those who harbored resentment to shield the insecurity, from the abrupt loss of the innocence the classroom provides and those who accepted their lot hungrily pursuing life’s other more “self directed” channel of learning.
Dad fell into the latter category.
But he didn’t resent those who had achieved higher academic milestones, instead he placed great importance on the value of formal education as a compliment to the school of hard knocks.
As often was the case he backed up his values with action. On one occasion, when learning of a friend of mine who was financially unable to to make tuition, he quietly wrote a cheque covering the year, to ensure no opportunity to fully evolve was incomplete.
However his legacy extended beyond his accomplishments and material generosity, in that he was one of the best teachers I have ever known.
He read biographies voraciously and shared with those he loved the benefit of his experience through the lens of those he saw as “more educated”. Often quoting Dale Carnegie, cautioning “That’s not the way to win friends and influence people” when I appeared to be ready to take a wrong turn.
Yet his mastery of the skill set required to truly enlighten never shone so brightly until his mentoring morphed from occasional lecturer to thoughtful questioner.
It’s four AM, you’re at a red light, on your way to work – as opposed to on your way home- and you come up to a red light.
WAIT! Hang on , are either of these references even valid examples in a covid world?
Anyway, there’s no one around, do you furtively glance in all directions and then slip through the light to continue on your way?
Why not – right?
No one will see, there are no cameras (maybe), and c’mon, the red light was designed to protect those who needed to cross the intersection at busier times-No?
Besides, isn’t there a rush of freedom when you make your own set of rules?
Damn straight there is!
So you break the rules, feel like a rebel and with that you feel in control of your life, sipping that extra dry soy flat white a few minutes earlier than expected, you start your day with a win.
Or did you lose a moment to just pause and exist outside the rat race?
I was surfing recently and I came across a list of “Rules to Share with My Daughter” (interestingly, there was no mention of flexible morning red light laws).
As I read the list of 37 rules I was to share as a doting patriarch, I was reminded of an early morning thought I recently scribbled about the paradox of imparting lessons learned on those we care about.
I reached for my bedside notepad and sleepily scrawled the following:
“As if to side step pain we believe we can deny it’s existence”
What does sidestepping pain have to do with red lights and sharing life rules with your daughters?
Well that my friends, is a question, that if not comically obvious already, will be evident in my upcoming “3 questions from late night red lights-Part Deux “
And for more obtuse observations, rambling social commentary and unanswered questions, please follow me here by clicking follow below or @ http://www.richardwallace.ca