racecar. i have never been a fan of car racing (i like palindromes), but understand that it draws quite a crowd. i imagine it starts very young, as most passions in life do. i wonder if h. and a. will still want to watch packer games with me when they hit their teen years? i wonder if they will want to do anything with me when they hit their teen years? not sure, but right now i enjoy the excitement they show for watching games with dad. they know the cheers, colors and tend to yelp when a touchdown is scored – regardless of which team scores -we’ll work on that. truth be told, a. fell asleep in my arms, as i fell asleep on the couch towards the end of the game last sunday, so i missed the game winning touchdown, but caught a nice tablespoon or more of drool in my ear before waking and realizing a half hour had passed. by the way, drool is not easy to get out of your ear – especially when mixed with chewed carrots. you would think a simple tissue would do the trick, but the tissue only spreads it into a thin layer of goo, and you continue to feel the moistness in your ear as you chase the carrot chunks continuously in circles, nearing the “tools” part of your ear, which puts me in a panic, i then turn my head and shake it – hoping they will just fall out, usually give up, and wait for them to dry and fall out on their own. you really have no way of drying it completely either. i air dry my drool soaked ears, and generally have to wipe my own cheek after a mid-day nap. i have never been much of a “napper”, and still, i am not, so we hit two rarities in one afternoon – the two “strung” individuals in the house were “out” for thirty minutes, and what did the rest of the house do, of course, they slept.

when we are young, our ambitions and exploration of our interests are boundless (they are when we are older too, just different), we are able to delve into anything that piques our curiosity, and decide if it is something that we want to continue or leave behind (i knew to leave behind baseball, soccer and choir – i “played” right field, was a fullback, and was asked to lip sync with the choir – he didn’t really come out and say that, but the choirmaster had a more pleasant look on his face when i mouthed “watermelon” to his piano playing.). this is assuming that we have people in our lives who promote such activities, but I guess any older person in a young persons life is showing them an interest, perhaps it isn’t always a healthy one, but when we are young, adults are insanely influential. this goes without saying, but i’m not sure it is always remembered. i am grateful that I have parents who promoted a wide range of activities, and generally supported our likes and dislikes. we played soccer and baseball, participated in swim and gymnastics, were encouraged to try an instrument, and they were probably not overly pleased when i preferred “hanging out” to organized sports, academic clubs, or musical endeavors.

proof that i live with monkeys - cute monkeys, but monkeys.

so, as i watch our girls develop their interest, and observe what activities “light” up their faces, i am forced to think about my own passions and my own interests. a reality is that we can “lose” ourselves to our children. we can become so engrossed in their world, that we forget that we are helping to create their world, we are showing them how to have interests – how to live – things we can’t use words for. when we have kids, there exists a danger that we can forget that we are still individuals with needs and passions, needs and passions that are healthy for us to discover and develop, and insanely good modeling for our kids. of course there is the flip side – wanting to maintain your life before kids with your kids, and forgetting that they are not four-year-old friends. here is my next…

so, i have many interests, but i don’t excel at any one thing. “jack of all trades master of none” as my dad would say – i prefer “renaissance man” with da vinci, any way you want to say it, i am “pretty good” at most things, i “know” enough to hold a conversation about a wide variety of topics, i am athletic enough to compete at most sports, and with just about everything, i fall in the middle. fortunately, this has made trying new things a bit easier. i recognize that i will never be the best at any one thing, or even really good. i discovered that i could do things for my enjoyment – not for how they are going to reflect on who i am. this does not stop my need to win. my competitive spirit is alive and well in mediocrity. in the past few years i have enjoyed tai chi classes, started this blog, and discovered the wonder of tea drinking, among other things, all of which have proven to enhance my life. what are your interests? any new endeavors lately? what are you afraid to try? why?

is this what we want for our kids? to explore the depths of the world and skim the surface of everything (boy, that sentence screamed out my point of view) or do we want them to excel at one or a handful of interests? i’m not sure (yes, i kind of am). obviously this is dictated by their skill levels and own interests, but with enough time, they are sure to find their talents, hone their skills, and make a decision as to how far they want to pursue them.

i think we are more approachable and have a broader understanding of the world when we don’t lock ourselves into one arena and only view the world through those lenses. i also think that we can excel at one thing (basketball, writing, engineering) and use it as a tool to explore the complexities of being human – we just have to remember that our path, our passions, and our view points (hopefully that is plural for you) are not the only ones, that we can use our passions and interests as vehicles to share/explore the “truths” of humanity – with the realization that there are many roads leading to the same place.

what is that place? and what are these truths? hmmm. let me think on that. i know they aren’t made of concrete, and i don’t believe they require death.

okay then. this was hard. writing after two weeks off, but it is done – the rust is mostly off, and i am ready to write in 2012.

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