Well, this is the week that will probably get me into trouble ... :)
The Wednesday Hodgepodge is courtesy of From This Side of The Pond.
1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.
I feel like most of the time I spend on social media is time spent "swimming against the tide".
In part, that's because I don't really feel free to express my views on social issues publicly. As a semi-public figure (an extremely minor public figure), I feel like expressing my views on social issues will directly hurt my ability to relate to my students, their parents, my co-workers, my colleagues, and so on. And I don't think I'm just being paranoid; I've seen a lot of people in the news lately who've lost their jobs or their livelihoods because they dared to express their social views publicly.
I feel this most especially when I see discussions of issues regarding sexuality. I'm an old-fashioned, conservative fuddy-duddy when it comes to sexual ethics. I honestly don't understand how anyone navigates the "anything-goes" world of sexual conduct today, where in order to participate, you have to become an expert in law, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and physiology. I see all the news stories on my feed of stories where a simple "consensual act" between two "consenting adults" destroys a dozen lives around them.
My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. My wife's parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. We are celebrating both of these events modestly, because that's who they are. But there are days that I want to jump up on a soapbox and scream "HEY! LOOK AT THEM! THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT, PEOPLE!"
Okay, dismounting my soapbox now.
2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?
It's been a very long time ... mostly because I haven't done a lot of book reading lately. The last one I can recall reading is "To Forgive Is Human", which presents a modern Christian view of what forgiveness means and how it works. It's a topic with which I struggle; the book provides a view of forgiveness as an extraordinarily active, powerful force, rather than the wimpy, passive manner in which forgivenss is often portrayed.
3. "Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith)
Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.
Mounting that soapbox once again ...
I disagree ... mostly because the people who advocate for "tolerance" aren't really serious about it as a virtue. Oh, sure, that's what is publicly claimed --- at least with regard to one or two hot-button issues. But dare to speak a position in opposition to those hot-button issues, and the "tolerant" person suddenly attacks you. Shouldn't tolerant people be tolerant of the intolerant?
See, none of us really believe in "tolerance". We're not tolerant of adults who abuse children. We're not tolerant of vandals. We're not tolerant of thieves. We're not tolerant of rapists. Tolerance in those cases isn't a virtue; it's the cruelest form of indifference.
"Tolerance", as a virtue, is meaningless, UNLESS we're also discussing what issue to which we are applying tolerance. It's just sloppy rhetoric.
Okay, dismounting that soapbox again ...
4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?
I didn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen, for whatever reason. If I have to pick a memory ... it's probably cooking fish filets in the microwave oven (a big deal at the time) during the summertime, when I had to make lunch for myself and my sister.
5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.
I wish I could say something specific about my childhood summers in order to make a comparison. I have vague memories; reading, playing outside, watching TV, doing chores, family vacations ... and my children do the same things (and more).
6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?
It's a close call.
Our family just got back from a week of Christian camping at Cedar Campus in Cedarville, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Huron. For us, this is holy ground. We come every year to meet God and be renewed, and it never fails to happen.
In a more practical sense .... I'd like to have a kayak so that I can find some of the local geocaches that are hidden on rivers or islands near here, and are otherwise inaccessible.
7. Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.
So be like lights on the rim of the water
Giving hope in a storm of the night
Be a refuge amidst the slaughter
Of these fugitives in their flight
For you are timeless and part of a puzzle
You are winsome and young as a lad
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can pull you from God be ye glad.
--Michael Kelly Blanchard, Be Ye Glad (verse three)
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Getting back into the swing of work is really, really hard. Classes start on Monday, and I've got a ton of prep to do, and I want to do exactly none of it ...