Is Mediocrity Good Enough?

For the vast majority of my life, I thought mediocrity was a bad thing. But then I moved into the world of higher education and was told I was wrong. A college professor acted as if I didn’t know the meaning of the word. He lectured me that mediocre is average and, because most people are average (by definition), mediocrity is not a bad thing.

Of course, I didn’t need a someone with a Ph.D. to explain the meaning of the word to me. But I suppose he thought I did because he could tell that I didn’t think colleges, professors or anyone else for that matter should settle for mediocrity. He was there to remind me that I was wrong: that mediocre was just fine.

It got me to thinking: maybe he was right. Perhaps mediocrity is O.K. Everything is relative. Why not simply accept mediocrity? Continue reading

Children As Living Arrows

Vera, your grandma is going through old photos and memorabilia. She brought to me a card she had given me when your Uncle Andrew was born. She carefully wrote by hand a quote from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I thought I’d share it with you:

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer seeks the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His Arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

If you have children some day, remember these words.


Angels Like To Play In Dirt

Today is a big day in our household, Vera. Someone qualifies for Social Security (although she’s not claiming her benefits yet). A lot has happened in those 62 years. Fortunately for me, 46 of them have been shared with me, nearly 40 in marriage. So what have I learned during that time that could be relevant to you? I’ve jotted down a few of the more important discoveries at the end of this post. But first, a word about how it all unfolded. Continue reading

Tell Your Story

Tom Shadyac is a pretty unusual guy. I AM, the documentary about Tom, is worth watching. Suffice it to say Tom’s not into stuff anymore. Tom came to realize our culture had become lost in what Thomas Merton called “the murderous din of our materialism.” But the real reason I mention Tom today is this passage in his book Life’s Operating Manual:

You cannot die without ever having told you story; you cannot die without ever having expressed who you truly are.

Continue reading