Academy of What?

 

It is amazing what my mind can do when left unsupervised.  Some of the things I think should and will remain unspoken, or at least unwritten.  But some random thoughts deserve to be aired, or at least it seems so to me.

I was driving down the road and saw a large sign on a building.  It was one of those moments when you just see the sign in passing out of the corner of your eye because of course you are watching the road. And what I saw, or what my brain thought it saw was: Academy of Marital Arts. I’m sure you can figure out what it actually said.

Now imagine what an academy of marital arts might be.  Listening lessons on one floor, sex on another, how to find common interests in one classroom, compromise in another.  The possibilities are pretty numerous.  And speaking as someone who has ended less than successful marriages, I think such an academy could be very useful.

In fact, I suspect that academies of marital arts might better equip our young for the future. Now understand that I have great respect for academies of martial arts and I completely understand the values they teach; discipline, respect, physical health and so on. But there are many places in our culture that teach, or purport to teach, these or similar values; little league, Boy Scouts, pop warner to name a few.

But just think, did your parents tell you how to be married? Mine surely didn’t.  My father was never married more than, I think, about 6 or 7 years; twice. My mother was able to sustain a little more longevity but has been married four times.  And, sad to say, I am coming up on her fast. But what matters is this: did anyone ever tell you to consider your lover’s needs when enumerating your own, did anyone ever articulate what day to day compromise really looks like, or true and genuine communication?  For most of us, no.

I grant that there are those of you that had wonderful parental or grand parental role models for how to be married. But even for those of you that lucky, it is likely that the world and cultural norms and expectations have shifted so significantly that those models quickly become passé. An educational institution could keep up, maybe.  So despite the usefulness of martial arts, I will continue to hope that somewhere there is an academy of martial arts.

Things Your Father Wants You To Know #1 ~ Get An Education

Your father isn’t a writer, and he isn’t great at words, especially when it comes to his feelings. But he cares about your future more than you can possibly know. It is the great tragedy of his life that he did not get a post-secondary education. He is a very smart guy, and he has spent his life learning things, but many people won’t give him a second look because he doesn’t have a college degree. One of the most important things in his life is that you don’t screw up your chance at education, college and post college, whatever you need to have a better life.

Like your immigrant great grandparents who worked liked dogs to provide for their children’s education (an extremely Jewish tradition), your father would do anything to ensure that you get yours. Your father believes, and wants you to understand, that education is the key to a certain kind of life. It is not just the key to financial or work success, it is the key to a certain type of enjoyment of life. Reading, listening to the opinions of experts, researching things you are interested in, generally the acquisition of knowledge, makes life interesting, productive and fulfilling.

This year of all years, you need to step up, do what you need to do to make it happen. Your father and I can only give you moral support, you need to earn your college education, through having the grades for Bright Futures money, through working for what you want your future to be and through just plain working. There have been many opportunities not offerred and dreams unrealized for your father. It is the dream of all parents that their children have more and do better. This is your father’s dream and one he hopes you share. Your father recognizes that it is very difficult for youth to learn from their elders experiences; often needing to make their own mistakes. Some experiences do not need to be repeated.