Good Sunday morning everyone!
I have good news. It has been 3 days since either Todd or Lila has received a check mark for behaving poorly! That is pretty dag gum good! In fact, it's about an 11 on the snaz-o-meter! In fact, Lila told me as I was leaving for work yesterday: "Don't worry Daddy. We won't get any check marks today." Thursday night Todd said that he was going to make good choices so he wouldn't get in trouble! I am aware that only a fool would break out the bomber jacket, cod piece, and Mission Accomplished banner at this point. Raising children who exhibit good behavior and, more importantly, who habitually make good decisions takes constant effort and maintenance. Lessons must be reinforced and reviewed where necessary. Not having been raised on a diet of paint chips during the great Connecticut cattle drive of the 1940s and 50s, I understand this. Still, as I have said before, a person who fails to recognize and celebrate small victories, positive adjustments made, and milestones passed has very little probability of enjoying much happiness in this life.
Movement toward a goal is positive and should be recognized as such. As my wife and I remind each other all of the time. We don't mind if our lives aren't exactly perfect in every way. What we do mind is if we aren't making any progress at making things more to our liking.
I know so many people who function as if there is a state of zero maintenance, lasting nervana to be reached as though it were a place on a map, a geographical or psychological location to be reached and all they have to do is get there and then put down roots. I find such a mindset to be tragic. In my view, it is a fools errand every bit as much as Ponce DeLeon's hunt for the fountain of youth was. Such a place doe not exist. It is an all or nothing mindset which conflates pleasure with contentment. That is a mistake. Sure, we should never stagnate in a less then perfect world; but we should learn to recognize that happiness is in the achievement of progress. To eschew celebration, or at least pleasing acknowledgement short of arriving at a nonexistent fountain of youth is to never experience any pleasure at all. It is to demotivate and it is , eventually, to fall into the trap of dismal stagnation. It is to be our own biggest obstacle on the path of constant improvement. It is to push aside the happiness in search of... well... happiness.
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.” - Groucho Marx
I don't agree with just how absolute that Groucho quote seems to be, but I think that he had a point. Sure, sometimes negative events will be of such a magnitude that we cannot keep them from making us sad, frustrated, or angry. Still, life is multi-facted. One or more aspect of life may be a source of discontent (in fact, it is likely that no facet will be perfect: see above), but other facets will likely provide opportunities to experience rewarding progress. We must learn to allow ourselves to take joy from those facets even as we put our efforts into improvement of the problem areas. That, dear friends, is where the true happiness in life is. It is my sincerest hope that you can have some of it. You need only to permit yourself.
Now, after having used my children's minor improvement in the field of good behavior as an excuse to make you endure my preaching, let's have a song about disobedience with a video featuring those very same rug rats.
The root of all evil:
Something a little spunkier:
From my stash of live recordings:
This guy will be here in December:
His little brother could play a little bit too.
So could the dude he was playing with in that last video.
Lastly, a little updated Robert Johnson stuff:
Thank you very much for the time that you have spent with us this morning. We hope that you can find yourself something to pleased about today and everyday. Please remember how much good doing something really nice for someone else can do for your own self image and please consider how much the world needs it.
As always we hope that you will join us in the comments section for discussion, sharing of whatever videos you feel like sharing, and for the company of some damn fine people.
Remember, Todd and Lila love you.