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Thursday, September 1, 2005

When I look back at my childhood, I think of September as one of my favorite months. Way back then, it was the month when school started. It always started after Labor Day, and sometimes, if there were crops to bring in, it started later than that. Not that I ever brought in any crops myself, but I live in an agricultural area and I can remember when the prune harvest dictated the start of the school year.

It wasnít that I loved going to school, but it was the one thing I was good at. I made a few friends there, but what I really liked was the feeling of empowerment I got by knowing how to answer questions, and knowing that everyone else was looking at me to answer questions they couldnít. I was a true nerd, in the sense that I didnít even realize that this alienated me from my classmates. And once I did realize it, I no longer cared.

The worst part of going to school wasnít the fact that I was bullied nearly every year from the primary grades through junior high. (After that I was just irrelevant). It wasnít even getting up way too early in the morning. (And I still believe the school day should start much later than it does.)

It was the pressure I put on myself to succeed. Thatís what made me the anxious little kid I was, and the repressed teenager I became. I was never quite good enough to suit my own expectations, and I was in constant fear that the next question would be the one I couldnít answer. Even worse than that was the certain knowledge that some day I would be so sure of the wrong answer that I would say something stupid enough that even the kid in the back of the room picking his nose would laugh at me.

Most of the time I succeeded in school, so itís hard to come up with the reason that my memories are so one-sided. I can think of every time I embarrassed myself or got made fun of by someone I thought was a friend or got slammed to the ground by a bully. The good memories are more general, and maybe itís that hazy, rosy glow that makes me think September was my favorite month. I know we had the best weather of the year then, so that could be part of it.

13 August 2005


Now, of course, I will have a whole new reason for liking September, since it will be the month our Kylie comes to us. And because of her, we will have a much better reason to celebrate September every year than the start of school (or the sunny days or the prune harvest).

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The Boss decided to donate company money for hurricane relief to The Salvation Army. Itís hard to find fault with that choice, because they have been on the scene from the beginning, providing shelter, serving hot meals, and putting people in touch with loved ones in the affected areas. When thereís cleaning up to do, I know theyíll be there for that, too. I only hope (and fully expect) that their compassion and aid will extend to people who donít share their evangelical beliefs. I have no reason to think otherwise.

For other journal recommendations, check out the links page.

One year ago: Overhaul
"I'd like to shed all my excuses like so many dry leaves, and get on with the things I really need to do."

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