Have you ever noticed that in old (and I mean real old photos) that no one smiles. When did that change?
Now, you can’t be in our family shots if you’re not smiling. Jen will take 100 pictures just to try to get a good smile out of everyone in the shot and that’s almost impossible to do with a 5 year old and 1 year old. Life is difficult enough, so why should we smile? There are more obstacles in a day than can be counted, and yet we’re supposed to smile. I know that joy is different than happiness. True joy comes in the form of being totally grateful that I have the opportunity to live here in the most free nation in the world, having the chances to get onto the internet without being censored in what I view or choose to share, and being fundamentally free to live whatever life seems best to me and my family. So I should smile, but I have 2 little boys who drive me crazy most of the time that they are awake and I have to worry about the world that they’re going to grow up in and if I’m doing a good enough job raising them the best that I know how… and sometimes it all seems so overwhelming.
That’s when I go outside and ride my bike, or run down to the river and squeeze in some line time with a few fish. It makes me happy now having some time to tie a few flies that have been bookmarked for years and I haven’t made time to try tying them. It seems ridiculous to say, but I actually smiled on the inside during this trip when it was raining and the boys and I were playing in it. I felt like I was finally where I was supposed to be when I looked around and realized that I was not in charge, that God was and it was OK if my plans didn’t work out quite the way I had wanted them to because playing with my boys in the rain was enough for that moment. I wasn’t too happy cleaning up afterwards, but we found the nicest hotelier who did our huge load of laundry for free after telling us he would charge only $5 per load (which we would have been thrilled to have paid in order to get dry socks and towels).
Thinking back on these things makes me smile now. It’s not during the hard times that we have that we should smile. It is thinking back and remembering that something greater than us has control and He’ll work it out. Even when we can’t see it in the present, the hindsight view is 20/20 and we can see how a little discomfort now can lead to a huge smile soon. So if you have a hard time now, just remember that time flies and soon you won’t have the opportunities that you have in front of you. Make the most of what you’ve been given and be grateful for it. Blessings don’t have to come with a smile now, but remember that they are still blessings. Try a smile out when it’s hard and see if that doesn’t help the situation!
Is it safe to say that the life we live is chosen for us, or do we truly have a choice in how we turn out? Taken from the first perspective, we are all taught the same material in school, we all have similar classes until middle school, and even then we don’t have too many opportunities to venture outside the curriculum too far. Now that schools have adopted technology though, children have access to so many more chances to learn from others and different sources.
I want to know how we can teach our kids to appreciate the outdoors when we’re stuck in a school. I know there are programs that are taking their classes to new environments, but how many are there that don’t. Our natural world is a great wonder and rather than somebody getting stuck in math or science, what if we could take those same kids and put them in a conservation program so that science becomes real and not something we’re forced to sit through. I want to know how we can show our children that taking care of our resources and fisheries can multiply the chance for others to get a chance to fish if the proper care is taken of certain species. And who knows, maybe their math skills can be put to use counting the number of fry that go into the rivers and lakes and then when later counted, they can tell how many have survived and do their percentages from the research shown.
I’m so fortunate to have had teachers who enjoyed their jobs well enough to put up with the antics of our grades. Looking back, I can’t believe that a few of them didn’t make us do more suspensions, but here we are today, trying to add to society. Let’s not coast through life because we can find anything we want on Google. Let’s get out and help our schools and see if there are ways that we can encourage our young people. Volunteer to mentor youth programs, lead a Boy Scout troop function, share your love of the outdoors with someone younger. There are needs all around us that we must look for and try to fill in the gaps, otherwise there won’t be opportunities like we had growing up.
So this question is crucial to understanding marriage today! Who gets stuck holding the squirming child while the other tries to keep the child with absolutely NO patience OR attention span fishing? Which by the way, he swears he wants to do, but loses interest after cast number 3.
I had to go to the car and snapped this picture, I didn’t leave her hanging very long. But this is the extent of fishing with kids as young as ours. You have to lug the little one and usually, as long as Animal crackers or Goldfish hold out, he’s going to hang in there with us. The other one though! How people raised children when their lives depended on catching dinner AND raising a child beats me. That’s why the roles were clear cut. But now, who knows what each of us is supposed to be doing. I don’t!
I’m trying to pull my weight and do what I can, and I know I can always do better. I’m not going to try to be the hero with all the answers. Why do I stare into a fire so much? Because I’d like to figure out how to make it better and usually end up making it worse. I know we all see how much more the other person in our lives can accomplish if they only would. But let’s see them for what they already have got on their shoulders.
This is a short one, but good one I hope. Sorry for missing last week as it has been an adjustment going back to work part-time as a substitute teacher. That’s been interesting! I hope that even when we’re busy, we take the time to appreciate who we have in our lives and what they do to make us better people.