Resilience. I was in a parent-teacher conference with my wife for our 4-year old daughter. The teacher and her two aides (how lucky is that?) talked about our daughter’s resilience, her ability to go with the flow, to bounce back in unfamiliar situations, to be adaptable. The two of us did a mental double-take, thinking about the number of meltdowns that occurred over Goldfish instead of Cheez-Its, or over watching Sponge Bob (her sister’s choice) instead of Lion King. “WTF is she talking about?” was our mindset, but that’s not the sort of thing to say during an affirmation moment with the person who will spend more time with the fruit of your loins than you do on most days.
In fairness to the 4-year old princess lover, she does exhibit a greater ability to say f— it and move on to things than her 7-year old sister. The youngest has already seen two stints in the emergency room for stitches, and never breaks stride. The oldest likes consistency, operates with as much care as a 7-year old tomboy can have. While the 4-year old made the transition from day care to school with a minimum of fuss, her sister figuratively gave everyone the bird for the first 6 weeks in school when she transferred. No conversation, no engagement, to the point I got daily calls from the teacher’s aide to get her to stop crying about going back to day care. Then again, I did call a neighborhood kid out of class to take me home in 1st grade when my mom was 5 minutes late. What I’m saying is that maybe resilience isn’t exactly a family trait at that age.
Which leads me to Michele Wie. If you follow sports, you may recall a precocious 13-year old girl from Hawaii driving a golf ball over 300 yards. Wie played in PGA and LPGA tournaments before she turned pro at 16, wowing people with her talent. But at some point, she needed to win. Wins come hard in golf and questions about her resolve arose. Wie missed several cuts, took 4 months off due to injury, and pulled out of tournaments she was in and playing poorly, with the inference that she didn’t want to look bad missing more cuts. Is it fair criticism of a 18-year old that she’s is more style and substance, maybe pulling back when things got hard? How was your resolve at 18? Wie didn’t quit, she kept playing, while attending Stanford, slowing putting together a game that matched her talent. This summer, she won two tournaments, including her first major, the U.S. Women’s Open. Now, she’s the cover model for the Grit Factor issue of Golf Digest.
Wie mentions the unwavering support of her parents as a source for resilience. The 4-year old may never win a major, (or celebrate by twerking–please no) but having resilience, resolve, grit are traits I want them both to have. It doesn’t have to be through sports, I just want them to learn that to grow you have to keep trying. Maybe I can get Wie to give her a pep talk and back on her training wheels bike.
Last Friday afternoon, I stopped by the early voting location in my precinct after picking up my children from school. It allowed me to perform an act of civic engagement, regardless as to how uninformed I might be on the candidates beyond those running for mayor and my immediate advisory neighborhood commission. I went to the polling station (reminding me that I hadn’t gottent o the gym that week), said hi to neighbors, and cast my vote for an election that was nearly fait accompli.
My town votes almost 90% Democrat, which means the primary usually decides the races. It’s a mid-term election cycle, which I’m certain most people are tired of hearing about. Voter turnout has been dropping for year (57.5% in 2012, down from 62.3% in 2008) and mid-term elections traditionally have worse turnout. I was a bit salty with President Obama’s statement about getting cousin Pookie out to vote. It’s the tone that he occasionally uses toward people of color that borders on condescending, but his point is accurate: don’t let voter apathy decide the election.
Back in the early 90s, John Kennedy, Jr created George Magazine to usher in a new era of political interest and engagement. Esquire’s November issue trumpets that politics still matter. But 20 years of partisan politics, stagnant legislation, and an increasingly dissatisfied populace would seem to put the lie to that idea. The last mid-term was 42% and all indications are this one will be worse. Sounding a bit cynical?
And yet. The two independents actually received double digit percentages in votes for mayor, which means the new mayor will have to negotiate with them. Tight races all over the nation turned on the engagement of those scant voters. Even if you didn’t vote, you probably had an opinion about Kentucky, Louisiana, and Virginia. Maybe politics as lifestyle has taken hold, but it appears to have move us in the wrong direction.
Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!