Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What We Make Of It

To my son Tommy,

Your Grandpa Leo used to tell me stories and lessons from his army career.  I remember him telling me once that in some training, I believe it was his Officer Candidate School (OCS), they purposely give you too many things to accomplish.  The idea is they want to see how you handle things.  Do you give each task some time?  Do you focus on perfection of one task and sacrifice all the others?  How do you prioritize?  Are you a good judge of which task is important and which should only be given cursory consideration?  Your Grandpa Leo said the key was to address everything in some fashion.  It seemed counter intuitive to me but then again so did many things in the army.  He said even a job done poorly is a job done, and from there you start to prioritize and give more resources to the more critical tasks.

I often see this parallel in life.  It often feels like there are so many things I want to do, so many things I should be doing, yet too little time.  Someone up there wants to see how we prioritize and see how we handle things.  I am not sure if it is in my nature to juggle so many things, but I am easily inspired to do more and more.  I want to be a  good Catholic, a good father, a good husband, a good citizen, a good person, a good friend, a good employee, and a good parent.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Take for example the HSA (Home School Association) meeting for St Agnes School tonight.  How well small Catholic schools do, and how well their students prosper, is directly related to how much effort the parents give.  It becomes what we, the parents, make of it.  We don't have some big public school system that we expect to take care of everything.  If something needs to be done, well we got to step up and find a way.

I guess every school, both public and non, has a little bit of that and can use as much parent involvement as possible.  It just seems to be more true of a small school like yours.  It seems counter intuitive that you have to do more for a school that you have to pay out of pocket for than a school that is free (or rather paid for by tax dollars) but it is true.  So when they ask for volunteers to do this and do that, when they basically ask the question, "Do you want to make your kids school better for your kid?", I somehow want to raise my hand and help out everywhere.

Maintenance committee meets one Saturday a month?  Sure sign me up.  Got something to sell?  I have dreams of selling a million bucks of product from the Gianni's fundraising.  Spring gala?  I'll be there.

Now throw in work, and church, and being a husband, and being a dad, and being a caretaker, and being a homeowner, and Discovering Christ, and the St Agnes Men's Club, and the Tech Committee, and did I mention work?  Throw in some personal ambitions like wanting to be more engaged and knowledgeable about politics and current events, or like wanting to volunteer at other venues such as the Book Thing, etc.  It can be overwhelming.
Truth be told, however, this is just life.  There will always be too much to do.  Life throws so many things at you, things you have to do, things you want to do, things you wish you could do, and you just have to deal with it.  Perhaps you think it would be easy just to say no to all those volunteer like activities.  Maybe you are right, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the void created would be filled with less altruistic diversions.  Plus it is in my nature, and most likely your genetic make up, to want to help and to serve others.  It is a noble pursuit, so learn to juggle early in your life, so you can do all that you can do.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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