checking the olives

I have friends who read parenting books, which is fortunate, because I don’t. You would think that as a writer, I would remember that books (including parenting books) expand our experience. But I forget.

So it is fortunate that I have friends that don’t forget. Yesterday, one told me about a book on teaching children to read that talked about modeling excellence. It talked about this beyond reading, modeling excellence in setting the table. Complimenting excellence when things were done excellently. Etc.

This seemed like a great idea for at least two hours, until I tried it, and felt like a total ass.

Maybe it’s just this week, maybe I’m in a laissez-faire sort of mood (I am). But really, I don’t care in the least about excellence*. Not in myself. Not in my children. And I know this is a weakness, because I see those who value excellence and the things they are capable of. My husband values excellence. Thank goodness.

But I don’t. My children will have to learn about it from someone else, at least until I am more inclined to fight my nature. I think that’s okay.

This morning walking home from Reed’s school, we stopped and sat a while to watch a swarm of ants and let them crawl on our fingers. The sun was already hot. Maybe this mood will pass, and next week I will feel entirely different. But today I feel like there is enough excellence in the world. I think there is plenty.


*I do care about good habits, and will happily keep my closet neat if I am reminded that putting things back carefully folded is a tidy habit. But telling myself to have an excellent closet only ends in retaliation. I don’t know why little shifts in posture and language matter so much, but somehow they always do.


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