So, a couple of worthwhile experiences from the last few days.
First one - self-analysis on parenting. My sweet, wonderful daughter is still struggling mightily in school. After another email from the teacher, I spent the day wondering what I could do to help my daughter in both academics and behavior. I went through a cycle of self-blame, remembering every mistake I had made throughout her life, all the times I was less-patient than I felt I should have been. I researched internet articles on parenting. (admittedly all from lds.org, whose parenting advice I trust more than anyone's) I even found out about new parenting and marriage classes offered through my church and considered signing up. (And then found out that although I could get the manuals, the classes aren't actually offered in my area right now.) Lots of tears and humility were experienced in this search for 'the answer'. The one thing that would turn everything around for my daughter.
After all of the anguish, I was forced to admit that although it had been far from perfect, I had done my best and would continue to do so. I was left with a couple ideas of things that I could do better on - namely spending more one on one time - less multi-tasking, and second, monthly 'interviews' that surprisingly, I found were appropriate for a mother to do as well as a father, which had been my understanding before. I also felt deeply that perhaps one of the most beneficial things that would come from, what I felt was, a family crisis would be the example that although really difficult times would come, my husband and I would both still be there for our kids when the crisis passed. Although I think that the way you pass through difficulties is character-building, when you show your humanity by not handling difficulties as gracefully as you'd hope, the foundational lesson of permanence is hopefully still there. Wow, I feel like I just wrote a tongue-twister, oh well, hopefully it came through okay.
Second experience. Finally walked again this morning - solves so many physical ills!!! (That and water) And on my walk, passed an odd sight. A man out in his front yard piling smaller stones around one larger upright stone. Oh, a memorial, I thought, and continued to walk. Felt a prompting to go back. Seriously? I thought. "Seriously", I felt. Ok, so I go back, picking up a small stone on my way to add to the pile. He thanks me with a generous smile and I feel that it was the right thing to do. I ask him, trying to be sensitive, "Can I ask?", pointing to the pile. "Of course", he responds. "Animal?" I ask sensitively. He looks surprised. Apparently he was just trying to make something artistic in his yard - felt it was a bit messy with all the rocks strewn about.
However, we have a good laugh and he offers his name. I shake his hand and give him mine in return. As I resume walking, I wonder what the point was and am answered calmly that the only point might have been to show one person that there was another person in the world who cared.
I guess that is pretty worthwhile.