FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Editorials by Robert Kirwan

Are You Still Searching For Your Dream To Come True?
Wake up...It May Already Be Here!

I feel sorry for the next generation. Admittedly, I am not very old myself, but as I look back over my life I realize that the times during which I really appreciated what I had were the times when I didn=t really have very much. It seems that the more we have, the more we want, and the more we take for granted what we have. Many of us spend our entire life searching for something that we had right in front of us all along.

My first teaching assignment was at an inner city school. Many of the children came from the low rent area of town and were very poor. The school used a large room in the basement as a gymnasium. The walls were paneled and there were pillars throughout the room. When you played floor hockey, you had to stick handle around the pillars. But I never once heard a complaint from those kids. They loved their gym and couldn=t wait to get down to the room to play whatever it was you asked. They were sincerely appreciative of anything you did for them and took excellent care of their equipment, books and school materials.

My next assignment was at a large, well-equipped school in the suburbs. The gym was huge and we had everything imaginable in terms of supplies and equipment. In spite of everything they had, these children did nothing but complain. Nothing was good enough for them. The more they had, the more they wanted. Furthermore, they had very little respect for school property and couldn=t care less if things were damaged or lost.

I often wondered how the children from my first school would feel if they had an opportunity to attend the >rich= school. In retrospect, I am almost thankful that those disadvantaged children were denied the riches of the suburbs. They may have had to do without the luxuries that their suburbanite peers enjoyed, but at least they developed the ability to get the most out of what little they did have. And they developed a strong character which would help them face the challenges of the future. I feared for the children from the suburbs who had only learned how to criticize and complain about the shortcomings of the abundances they did have.

It is hard to imagine how the next generation is going to cope with the choices they will have placed in front of them. If the technological advances of the past several years are any indication, the future will be amazingly complex. It will be geared to personal fulfillment through the use of technology. People will have everything they could dream of right at their fingertips, and yet I suspect those very people will not be happy. They will live their entire life looking for >something better=.

It reminds me of a story about a farmer who had lived on the same farm all his life. It was a good farm with fertile soil, but with the passing of the years, the farmer began to think that maybe there was something better for him. So, he set out to find an even better plot of land to farm.

Every day he found a new reason for criticizing some feature of his old farm. Finally, he decided to sell. He listed the farm with a real estate broker who promptly prepared an advertisement emphasizing all the many advantages of the acreage: ideal location, modern equipment, healthy stock, acres of fertile ground, high yields on crops, well-kept barns and pens, nice two-story house on a hill above the pasture.

When the real estate agent called to read the ad to the farmer for his approval prior to placing it in the local paper, the farmer heard him out. When the real estate agent had finished, the farmer cried out, AHold everything. I=ve changed my mind. I=m not going to sell. Why, I=ve been looking for a place just like that all my life!@

My wife and I have lived in our home since 1974. We have raised our three sons in this house and have enjoyed many happy memories. Others we speak to find it hard to imagine how anyone could remain in the same house for so long. Don=t we wish we had a larger house? Or a house on a lake? Or a house in the city? Or a house with a pool? Or a house with more land? Over they years I suppose we have thought about those things, but now, as we walk around our modest property, immersed in the wonderful memories of the past, we realize, as did the farmer, that this is the place we=ve been looking for all our lives. We wouldn=t trade it for anything.

Now that our children are making their way into their own lives, we are witnessing a whole new set of memories at this home of ours. In the summer of 2003, we hosted the Rehearsal Party for our oldest, Ryan, the night before he married Angele. They are now looking for a house in Valley East. Our youngest is engaged to be married in October 2004. More memories. And Warren, our middle son, is settling in to a career locally and more memories will be on the way.

Ask me again...am I living my dream? You bet!!!!

Next time you feel the urge to look for >something better=, start identifying the good traits of what you do have. You are likely to find that they far outweigh the bad. Focus on what you have and what you don=t have will likely seem insignificant.

Until the next time....

 
 

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