Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Parental Pride

I've been working 55 and 60 hour work-weeks lately, so needless to say the blog kinda get short shrift. I could post each day "worked hard, long hours, very tired", but I think that would get... well.. tiresome... very quickly.

Ok, so my daughter Lindsey has a couple of friends over after school today. They are discussing book reports they wrote about the book "Native Son", the contents of which I have absolutely no inkling of. However, I gather from their conversation that the protagonist somehow murdered two women, and they are having a fairly deep conversation about whether or not the protagonist, based on his actions (murder, namely) can be considered "a fiend" or not.

Hmmm.... Murder in my book makes you a fiend, but the point I'm making here is, my daughter and her friends are actually discussing the ethical and moral implications involved in the story, and looking beyond mere circumstances to try to get a great understanding of the protagonists motives! Racial motives, childhood wounds, circumstances and emotional drive! What fun!

He IS a murdering fiend, but the discussion is wonderful! Who says kids don't get an education today. Some do, I'll attest to that. My children and their friends make me proud.

On the other end of the parental spectrum......

My dad and I went to lunch this afternoon, after my short shift of overtime at work, and had a wonderful conversation about his experiences with the Sacramento Society for the Blind. He's been teaching/mentoring at a live-in school designed to encourage more blind seniors to become mentors to other blind seniors.

I marvel at his transformation.

My dad is 79 years old. He's had glaucoma for years, since being diagnosed at about 40 years of age, and macular-degeneration as he's gotten older. About seven years ago, he had to quit driving, and face the fact that he is going to become completely blind.

He became, for a season, a very bitter, angry, depressed man who's life in retirement he was hoping for had been taken away and replaced by a handicap and darkness.

After my mom literally dragged him to a Blind Society meeting, where he discovered just how much assistance is available, and how much of life there was left to experience, he began learning and challenging himself. He attended a 10-day Senior Intensive Retreat (SIR) where he was introduced to cane-travel and the basics of living life blind.

For instance, how do you cross a busy street?
How do you grocery shop?
How do you order a meal in a restaurant, and figure out where the food is on your plate?
How do you find your way around a shopping mall, a coffee shop, or buy a pair of pants?

It was probably the best experience of his retirement. Now, this very old man walks miles, visits coffee shops, McDonald's, rides the bus to Arden Mall, and teaches other seniors how to do the same. He has turned his disability into a chance to do new things, meet new people, and influence lives for the better.

I love this man. He's been a wonderful dad, and I'm glad to have gotten to know him as well as I have.

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