A young parent sent me this article, asking if she should raise her kids like this (in jest, I think). It talked about how Chinese parents insist on both straight "A"s and the study of either the violin or piano. I told her she was doing fine. But that gnawed on me. Don't we want our kids to excel? Then I started thinking that we do have high, but different expectations. I was reminded of Maslow's characteristics of self-actualizing people. So maybe all parents want their kids to succeed, but just in different ways. And maybe not. I've seen parents who don't want their kids to have more than they do, or to be any smarter. It is sad.
A man started talking to my neighbor and I this morning at our Mexican dive. After hearing me talk, he asked if I came from Illinois (which I did). As the conversation continued, he told us how 2010 was the worst year ever for him. I said, "maybe you'll have a year that is even worst than that." "No," he said, "I had 5 operations last year." And they were heavy duty operations, we soon discovered. I told him about about a much loved Zen priest, Darlene Cohen, who practiced with her pain for many years and helped others to do so. She had died yesterday, teaching others right up to the end. I asked the man if he appreciated life any more now after having these operations. He was caught off guard and said that he had not thought about that.