Posts Tagged ‘modeling’

Paterfamilias’ Progress

June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day.

There were two guys playing golf and a terrible lightning storm came up and the first friend was ready to run for cover when the second friend walked up to his ball, lightning hitting all around them, and prepared to hit his next shot.  His terrified friend shouted, “What are you doing—you’re going to get killed!”  To which the more intrepid golfer of the two calmly replied, “Don’t worry, I’m using my two iron—even God can’t hit a two iron.”

As to whether God can or cannot hit a two iron… it’s just a joke.  But we can now be sure that “God” (or at least random lighting) can, and did, hit a six-story high “touchdown Jesus.” This Father’s Day I miss my father-in-law, Arthur, who in the end of life had Judaism to win and Catholicism to place in the horse race of religion, but I am not privy to that particular betting window and so I do not know if any of his bets paid off.

Meanwhile, a reader comment on that Touchdown Jesus breaking news item caught my eye; peppered between smug quotes from Exodus about not making graven images and counter-comments about the folly of religion was, “If lightning hits a statue of Zeus is it different?  Discuss.”

On this the week of Father’s Day, that comment got me thinking of the archetypal Father and His evolution.  Whether it’s Zeus hurling lightning bolts or Moses going ballistic and smashing the tablets, I wonder how many men suffer under the yoke of internalized paternalism.  In other words, how many hotheaded guys end up acting like dicks mostly because that’s what they’ve been taught—that this is the way that real men, particularly Fathers, behave?

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Parenting Manifesto

June 19, 2010

The true history of all society is the history of parenting.

Parents have always seemed to be in charge, but every generation has faced a revolution of children growing up and taking charge—only to be usurped by the next generation.

To end the entrenched strife of anxious children and unhappy parents caregivers must see that they are as much child as parent—and that parenting (i.e. caring for others and the world) is enlightened Self-interest that sets us free via an expanded consciousness.

Thus a parenting attitude brings feelings of harmony, community and more widespread stability and well-being.

In order to liberate parenting from the yoke of experts and materialist exploitation of insecurity about the most important job any of us ever do, and which we so deeply yearn to get right, caregivers must unite in a common consciousness that sees all children as all of our collective children.

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The Deep

June 17, 2010

This day always holds dread and portent for me as it marks the day in my childhood when my best friend, Jonathan, was killed; yet there is another story of attachment and loss that also clusters around this day in the watery tumult of my psyche.

It all goes back to high school—junior year honors English.  Ellen was in my class and of course I thought she was cute.  I sat one row over and one seat back, and thus my year was spent stealing glances at her as my mind drifted in and out, but mostly away, from Jude the Obscure.

The very last week of class the teacher invited us all to her house and on the way out, with summer stretched endlessly before me, I somehow found the courage to ask Ellen out on a date and was elated and shocked when she said yes.  I had asked out girls before, and had a good long history of “no” (particularly humiliating was my freshman year honors English fail with the girl who sat in front of me as my mind wandered away from the likes of Pride and Prejudice—I could simply not persuade that girl, a full head taller than me, to go on a date where we would ride our bikes).  But in 1977 I had a license to drive, and so Ellen would be picked up in a car.

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Adulthood begins at 27

June 16, 2010

This is a season when the dust is starting to settle around all our recent graduates, ranging from kindergarten to graduate school.

I have long argued in my own writing that adulthood no longer actually occurs in our culture at the point that most of us say that it begins (twenty to twenty-two).  A recent New York Times article by Patricia Cohen, Long Road to Adulthood is Growing Even Longer bears this out with an accruing host of facts and figures.

Social scientists and policy makers are noticing that there is a newly emerging phase in many Americans’ lives in which they are no longer adolescents and not yet adults.  Obama’s shift to allow children up to twenty-six to be on their parents’ health insurance plans, as well as shifts in the average age for marriage now (27 for males, 27 for females) underscore the late blooming trend.

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My kid the… squatter?

June 12, 2010

A recent article in the New York Times Magazine by Jake Halpern, The Freegan Establishment fascinated me from a parenting perspective.

It is about several people, who seem at first glance as lost souls, who have squatted in homes and worked to create an alternative approach to living—eschewing money, yet working diligently to fix up a crumbling and abandoned mansion while dumpster diving to secure food.

The squatters open the house to residents who contribute, and to drifters who are welcome for a day or two, but who must apply to be accepted (based on bottom line contributions they can make via work) if they wish to stay longer.

Several things intrigued me about this social experiment:  the history of a Brit who fell upon hard times in the 17th century and formed a short-lived utopia free of money which he later wrote extensively about, which in turn inspired the “digger” movement in 1960s San Francisco, which all relates to Thoreau, Marxism, materialism, communism and a host of great social, political and psychological questions.

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Abby Normal

June 11, 2010

I went to sleep last night with prayers for Abby Sunderland in my heart.

I awoke to learn that she is okay, and I am delighted and relieved for that.

What I wish to say today is that Abby’s situation is a perfect confluence of the opposites (the very place where the transcendent, sublime, even divine is most likely to show up).

Abby’s brother sailed around the world alone—the youngest to do it.  Abby wanted to do it too, to get the crown of youngest to sail around the world alone.  Note how many opposites this collective focal point conjures: life and death, over-protection and under-protection, bravery and fear, equipment and nature, togetherness and isolation, young and old, water and land, safety and adventure, “good” parenting and “bad” parenting, giving up and keeping on, ego and oceanic oneness.

Given that my aim is to enhance consciousness toward the benefit of the collective, my personal opinions about whether or not, as a parent, I would let my own sixteen-year-old sail around the world alone (I’m nervous for him to start driving lessons) is at least partially beside the point.

I went to sleep with images of “pitch-poling” and “submarining” in my mind’s eye—the experts conjectures of what 25 foot waves in 80 knot winds might do to cause a sailor to hit the rescue-me button (a forty foot boat flipping end over end; nose-diving straight down the face of giant waves and capsizing into 50 degree water).

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Eye on the real prize

June 9, 2010

Okay, I just love Derek Fisher.  One of the Lakers’ most senior players, he is my favorite not just because he’s great, but because he plays (and lives) with so much heart, so much love—and you can just see it and feel it.

Wherever the series goes (and obviously I hope it goes to the Lakers), playing away in Boston is a tough place to win a game on the road.  Kobe may be the “star,” but he was cold last night and Fisher won that game for his team.

In the post-game interview, standing on the court, Fisher had tears in his eyes as he expressed how much he loves his team and helping his team win.  We all have our heroes, but I can’t relate to Kobe in his often super-human skills and somewhat remote emotional presence; however, Fisher is a person I can look to and say, “I want to be more like him.”

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Paying loving attention to attachment

June 2, 2010

Lindsey at A Design So Vast wrote a recent post, “There is something holy in authentic presence,” that got me thinking about attachment.

Lindsey’s post is about the intense power that authentic presence has on people, as evidenced by artist Marina Abramovic who has a piece going at Museum of Modern Art in New York right now.  The “art” or “performance” or whatever one might call an authentic human sitting and giving full attention to whoever cares to sit across from her at a table in a taped off square in a busy museum space.

Person after person eventually ends up in tears, profoundly moved by Marina’s authentic and unflinching presence to them.  The photos of these people’s faces are fantastic—with tears coming down their eyes, each one is so extraordinarily beautiful, and in a way rather different from features and symmetry and instead revealing the universal beauty of the soul when it has a chance to shine from within the body.

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Middle School Masochism

May 27, 2010

A recent New York Times article, “Teenage Insults, Scrawled on Web, Not on Walls,” by Tamar Lewin looked at a burgeoning internet trend wherein subscribers to sites such as Formspring can get anonymous (i.e. uncensored and brutally honest… or perhaps cruelly dishonest) feedback from others, which they can then elect to delete from their private in-box or post to a public profile on themselves.  Interestingly, albeit depressingly for parents, many kids seemed all too willing to post mean things about themselves, leaving parents in dread about comments so horrible that they would get deleted, but not before leaving deep scars.

Of course middle school kids were then free to post all sorts of mean comments, everything from snarky comments about your leggings to withering critiques of breasts and teeth.

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“Yes!” Buby said, “Yes Dahlink!”

May 18, 2010

My Buby told me that she had been “quite a lively dancer,” when she was young.  Even in her clunky chunky heels with a Darvon in her system she’d be game to step out onto a tennis court, or you’d find her planting fish-heads by some corn in our yard, “the way the Indian used to do.”

Andy came home from the farmer’s market with Lilacs yesterday and a flood of memories came back, color and smell transporting me to childhood; it was my Buby who adored the lilacs, who would cut some from the bountiful hedges that neither my mom or dad could really care less about and bring them in, set them apart to really be seen… just the way Andy, my mountain flower, does with peonies, gladiola, orchids and now lilacs (and that’s just what’s vased around me as I write this post.  Yes! I am fortunate, and doubly so to know it).

I had wanted to plant lilacs in my yard when we finally got a yard, but lilacs need a hard frost and Studio City is hard-frost-impaired, and thus it has been many a moon since I saw and smelled freshly cut lilacs.  And when I did, the back of my mind was pondering Momalom’s final five-for-ten theme:  “Yes.”

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