Monday, October 17, 2005

School, Life Eternal and No Paternity Test Needed

There was never a doubt as to my wife's virtue, but since our son (Ethan) started kindergarten this fall, affirmations of my own personal strengths and weeknesses have manifested themselves through his work habits.


I looked over Ethan's in-class assignment the other day: Draw the clothes you like to wear to school in the space provided. In that space I see that a wobbly hand has drawn a dragon, wings up and back and claws forward as it decends on an unfortunate stick figure. I say, "Hey! That's a great dragon but you need to do the work first. Put clothes on that guy before the dragon burns him to a crisp or something."


I also noticed he colored all of the apples red instead of red, yellow and green. I helped him sound out each color as it was printed beneath it's corresponding fruit. "Ask your teacher if you're not sure what your supposed to do." Then we re-colored them in the right hues.


I know the teacher can look him right in the face and spout precise instructions but he will still be thinking about the awesome centaur with the upper-body of a tyrannosaurus rex that he drew for me and miss every word she says. I am proud of him. It will be his interests that drive him through life, not discipline. I can mull over a thousand times in my own life when I dealt with these same issues. I made a career of drawing pictures and writing stories which had nothing to do with my schoolwork aside from providing an escape from rows of heads hanging over desks and hags in front of chalk boards.


School may not be the easiest beast he'll encounter but it's easy enough. We dress him cool to give him an edge. He was in line to bat with some kids from his t-ball team and they were crashing their helmets together. Ethan bellowed, "I'm a pachycephalosaurus!" The other kids seemed confused but smiled and continued the head-bashing. It's ridiculous that knowledge will separate you and make it more difficult for others to accept you.


My son may be doomed to my runaway mind, destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, but I seem to do alright. Better than that, I never received guidance from my parents or learned the ancient reptiles and the attributes they used to survive so I fully expect him to go well beyond anything I've achieved.


There is comfort in seeing myself in his stare. Here in Utah, people like to speak a lot about the value of eternal life. I see myself in my son and I'm aware that I pull many of my dad's faces, despite the absence of his presence throughout my childhood. They are probably the same faces made by a brown-skinned man weaving a fishing net or hacking out a redwood canoe alongside a river hundreds of years ago. That man is alive in my son. He probably did not think much about his teachers either. He was probably thinking of floating on the water during the next salmon run. Or even picturing a winged monster dropping out of the sky, breathing fire. There is no doubt of the lineage. Stop staring up for heaven and take a look at your kids. It's your chance to live forever.

5 comments:

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your mother said...

I have no idea what these losers that commented on your site are saying. You thought you got no guidance from me, but the truth is I gave you the earth, the sunshine, the ocean, the river, swimming lessons, a family, and your life. I would do it again in a heartbeat.