Sometimes, you have to reconcile yourself to things having a course of their own. I racked my brains over the weekend trying to write about the thin line between success and failure. I was motivated by the recent spate of scandals surrounding prominent public figures, and trying to think through whether power makes those who are deemed successful want to walk a tight rope that may pitch them into failure. Or, if their having power forces them to see all that they do as acceptable and defensible because of their success, only to be told by society at large that the rules that apply to most ordinary people also apply to the powerful. It seems, however, that some abrupt fall from grace is needed to send that message. We know that the reprehensible behaviour wont stop. We also know that it is not confined to the powerful and ‘successful’. They come to our attention because of the media interest, and in some sense that public shaming and naming means they take the heat for all those who have yet to caught. Society expects a lot from those who have been given trusted positions, or who appear to have gained more privileges than most. I could not resolve all the philosophical issues in a blog post, but I will keep thinking about them.
But, my high-flown thinking had to come back to Earth on Monday. School is out for my first grader. She had a dental appointment this morning and we had to figure out what to do with the rest of the day. I could not interest her in going to the Smithsonian museums. She wanted to go to a toy store. We walked to the Corcoran School of Art, with more than a few protests, only to find that we could not get in. The toy store looked like it was going to win. I then, suggested that we go to Glen Echo Park, and mention of carousel and playground, put toy store on hold. But, it had to be made a bit more special still. I suggested that rather than go by car, we could ride our bikes and take a picnic. “I want to make my own sandwiches!” She yelped. Well, that works. Peanut butter slathered on one slice of toast, and chocolate spread gracing another, sandwiches were done. (I was boring old cheese and salad.)
We rode the few miles without any problems and quickly ate our lunches. The playground was full of kids, so off went my little one, but she found they were a camp group and no one offered to play with her. She amused herself as best she could, though. When the camp children left my daughter to have the playground to herself, she enjoyed that privilege for a short while, but it was not really much fun. So, we headed off to discover a stream. Instead, we found a glass blower, and for the next hour watched him make a goblet from scratch. By now, we had been out a good seven hours, and since mid-morning, toy store had not been mentioned. I thought now was time to head home and cool off.
I know that little children take a while to get a grasp of time. We adults often feel we do not have enough of it. Spending it with children often comes in the category of ‘sacrifice’ or ‘time wasted’. But, it’s really priceless. For me, the thin line between success and failure was drawn on a different canvas. I only wanted to know that my first grader had had a good day.