Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wanted: An Internal Compass

I need an compass. An internal compass...an inner GPS. I'm not directionally challenged, at least not in the usual way. I need help deciding which way to go in life, and it'd be just so much easier if I had a sure-fire way of knowing the right path.

Remember in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, where Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)....ok, hold that thought....we all need to stop and stare at Jack for the minute....

He's so sexy! I don't usually drool over movie stars, but he was such a hunk in this movie. A drunk, slightly morally-confused pirate, but cute nonetheless.

Ok, back to my point. Captain Jack has a compass that is supposed to lead him to his heart's desire, which at the time is his ship, the Black Pearl. His compass told him which way to go.

Well, that's what I need. I need a compass to help me make all my decisions. I'm always so concerned with doing the right thing...and worried I'll do the wrong.

I'm not asking for perfection, don't think that. I still want personal choice and the ability to make some mistakes, but over all, it'd be nice to know what I was doing was right. I need guidance, that's the word I was looking for.

A while back, I was at a school party in the kindergarten with Remy.

He asked me to hold something for him that was fragile, something all the kids had received as gifts...he didn't want to break it. So, I held it...and tried to help him gather all his stuff...and tried to help this other little kid get her stuff...and I dropped the fragile gift. And it broke. And Remy was devestated. I felt awful....although we were able to get him another one and everything was ok. BUT he said something to me that broke my heart. He said, "Mama, I can never trust you again."

And, over the next two weeks, he brought it up again and again. I messed up. And he didn't forget it. He learned I'm human (although I'm sure I shown him that PLENTY).

When Donny was three years old (eight years ago) I was pulled over by a policeman for missing a sign and taking a right on red where I wasn't supposed to.

Donny has never forgotten that incident and has brought it up over the years.

These are silly examples, but they show that my kids notice when I mess up. And I mess up plenty, trust me.

I'm more worried about the big stuff. Should I be sending my kids to church? We're blasphemus heathens, we don't go or belong to a church. I'm not sure what I think of GOD.

Should the boys be in public school? Would they be getting a better education there?

Did we make the right decision leaving Austin and all their friends? Are we doing the right things? raising them right? Teaching them correctly? It'd sure be handy to have a compass to show me the way.

Where am I now and where do I need to go?

I'm so close to finishing my undergraduate degree. Should I hurry up and finish it? Or should I get a job to help support my family and worry about a degree later? Let's check that compass.

Should I put all my energy into writing and really go for it? Handy, dandy compass is there to tell me the answer.

The Internet has become crucial in my decision making skills. I Google and research most things before I buy them, look into medical conditions before heading to the doctor, see what all new books are out before heading to the store...you get the idea.

Then, other times, I turn to people who's expertise and judgment I trust and admire. My mom, my stepfather, my husband, my sisters and various others.

So, in a sense, the Internet and my friends and family guide me like a compass...but damnit, I'd like some guarantees...a warranty assuring me this was the right decision.

Does anyone have a compass like this?

No, I didn't think so. I'd make a gold mine if I could copyright a contraption like that, wouldn't I?

So this post doesn't get too serious, let's end with a picture of the one gal who always has a smile and loves me no matter what decisions I make, as long as I feed and love her.



. said...

A drunk, slightly morally-confused pirate, but cute nonetheless.

ROFL. The perfect description of Captain Jack. He is decidedly yummy, isn't he?

Oh how we all wish for a compass like that. I would keep mine in a safe place with my magic wand and my money tree!

FWIW, I think that's its important that our children know that their parents occasionally mess up. What's crucial though is how they see us dealing with it when we do. That's what helps them grow into good people.


Alison B. Osborne said...

I think the key is to accept the decisions you do make...don't question yourself so much...that only works against you after awhile. It is only important that you make your decisions out of love....for Donny for Remy or for yourself.

trublmaka said...

It always looks like someone else 'has it together' better than you do... I know. I get that myself.

You do your best, and thats all that can be done.
Trust yourself more. Hold more faith in yourself.
You're a good person.
Start with that

Tez Miller said...

I was forced to go to church up until sometime in high school. I never wanted to go. When I ended up seeing a psychiatrist, she seemed to think I had issues with control - mainly that I didn't feel as if I had any control. So I'd suggest not sending the kids to church, unless they actually show an interest without any prompting from anyone else. Religion is a personal thing.

I'd suggest sending them to public school. With education fees in all kinds of levels of education (primary, secondary, tertiary), parents really can't afford to send their kids to private school and then university. So if the kids go public, you'll have more money saved up for uni, should they choose and are accepted to attend.

Anyway, for what it's worth (nothing), that's my point of view ;-)

All the best to you, and have a lovely day! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Nice post, one I think most everyone can relate to at one point or another.

As for us, we don't go to church and we're very happy with the public school. My husband and I both went to public schools in New York and we turned out ok, and now our son is enjoying public school in NC. :-) I don't think going to church has to make you a better person. I've known some very bad people who went to church all the time and I've known some great people who never go. I do, however, know some people who go to church and who are good, but I'm just saying going to church doesn't make one good.

Private schools might be a good idea if the public schools in our area are dangerous, but you know what? Private schools can be just as dangerous. Pubic schools save a ton of money and I think the education is good. Just make sure you're in contact with the teachers and know what's going on.

As for your degree...go for it! You could do it one or two classes at a time if you had to. When I was in college I worked 30 hours a week and went to school full time. I didn't have kids, but I think if I had had kids I would have still finished, just it would have taken me longer as I would have taken one or two classes a semester.

Good luck!

Angie's Spot said...

First, I thank you so much for letting me drool over Johnny Depp before 9am. I've been crushing on him since his 21 Jump Street days!

Secondly, I struggle with a lot of the same things you do. Especially the school and religion thing. My kids go to a private pre-k right now, but we're having to start making plans for Kindergarten for my oldest and we're having a major public/private/homeschool debate. And we don't go to church either. Hubby never went to church growing up and I was forced to go until I moved out at 17. My bff is a very devout Christian and I consider myself agnostic, but we're like peas & carrots. Religion is definitely a very personal thing and I totally agree with others that if your kids express an interest in learning more about it, then take them. Good luck and thanks for the great post! :-)

CrystalChick said...

Arrrrgggghhhhh.... I just typed out a very LONG response to your great post and then LOST IT. Dangit, back later to type it again.

I am Laura said...

Very thoughtful post. Here is my 2cents.

We are struggling right now with our religion but keep going anyway. It is hard, but we are doing it for the kids because we feel we learned a lot from going to church about service and compassion and we want the same for our kids. My kids are little so they like to go. If your kids want to learn about religion go to a different church for a little while every Sunday and just see what they find out. If you hate it stop. Good people are everywhere religious and not religious. Do what you think is best for your family.

The school debate is also up to you. Our public school here is great so I am definitely sending my kids there. I went to school as a teacher and think that most teachers try their very best to teach your kids. I do feel that kids learn most at home and from what I see you are teaching your kids very well. The kids I tutor go to public school and the man who pays for their tutoring is thinking of sending them private and I hope he does because the schools they go to are not so good and I feel smaller classroom sizes will help them. So as you see it is a personal decision.

Your schooling. Go!! You won't regret it. It will be a good example to your boys. I am glad I have my degree although I probably won't need it much in my life.

Ok so I tried to be your compass and I think I told you mostly to do what you think is right. That is because I believe we are born with a compass in terms of our conscience and I can tell you have a good one by peeking in on your life from time to time in your blog. Keep loving your kids and you will do okay.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

I think it's okay to make decisions that aren't perfect. We all try our best...but there are never any guarantees. It's kinda like your Dr. Pepper thing. I think it's great that you only let Donny have one a week. I can make myself crazy wondering if *I* have made the wrong decision in letting my kids have one a day. The wrong decision in letting them have diet soda. And this can go on ad nauseum. So...we do the best we can with the information we have at the time.

We do go to church - but you know, I wouldn't call us religious :-) Is it horrible to admit that I find church a social event? Now, I do love my church...and love that it is in line with a lot of my liberal views - especially as to the degree (or lack thereof) of literalness in which I look at the good book.

And you know we homeschool...but we also public school. Again...like decisions...every child is different. And so is every family. You need to find what works for you...what's best for you...and what's best for your entire family. And most importantly...be happy :-)

I think it's the actual act of making a decision that tends to give us angst. But...once that decision is made...there is a weight lifted and you can move on.

San said...

Such soul-searching, Rhea. I've been there, messing up in front of the kids, seeing them realize I'm not a goddess after all. It's a heartbreaker at first, then it's a relief. I've agonized over the religion question too, the education question, the PURPOSE question.

It won't solve anything, but this morning I acknowledged you with a Blogging with a Purpose award. Come purposefully over and claim it. Bring your compass.

Anonymous said...

First of all... Captain Jack is very sexy. I wasn't even a huge Johnny Depp fan until I saw the first Pirates movie. Something about that quirky character... I just instantly fell in love.

One of the many nicknames my husband has for me is, "Ms. No Sense of Direction" which covers many areas of my life. I can walk out of the same elevator I've been in five times and turn left into a wall. This happens in hotels, malls, etc. I just don't pay attention to minor details like that. I'm a directional mess in my ordinary life as well. I'm a "Type A" wannabe... I get so distracted with things like this blog that take me away from my real responsibilities in life. I need to work on this. I wish there was a magic pill I could take that would make me a directed, focused, organized woman. I also would like a pill that would get rid of my cellulite and wrinkles. Has anyone found one yet? hee hee ~Jill :)

Heather said...

I just really want to take this opportunity to thank you for making my day with a good dose of eye candy first thing in the morning. Seriously. I watch Pirates just to drool over Orlando and Johnny. I have a thing for guys in black eyeliner.

Carissa(GoodnCrazy) said...

Good luck with all that.

I just need you to decide which bag you want...

No compass needed. No moral dilemma?

Stripes or Silk? Or really any of the fabrics on either of my blogs!

All Things BD said...

It's so hard sometimes to know if the direction you're going is the right one. I, too, consult everyone and everything I know before I can make a decision, and then I STILL question what I'm doing.

My girls and I go to church, but hubby is not a believer. I want for them the sense of community, the desire to do for others, and a good moral compass. Later, if they question, or decide not to go, that will be their choice. Even now, if they really don't want to go, they can stay home with dad, but they rarely choose to stay home.

We had both girls in private school in California, but are going the public school route here in Texas. It really just depends on what your child needs. My eldest needed private school early on for the smaller class size and Montessori philosophy, and my youngest would have been fine anywhere. Now, eldest is doing just fine, but I'm struggling with putting a very tall, already reading and doing multiplication 5 1/2 year old into a public kindergarten, where she'll probably be bored to tears.

The decisions aren't ever easy, but we make them, and we really don't screw our kids up as much as we think we will. :)

The CDM said...

"I'm more worried about the big stuff. Should I be sending my kids to church? We're blasphemus heathens, we don't go or belong to a church. I'm not sure what I think of GOD."

This is probably the biggest beef I have against southerners. I absolutely abhor the social pressure of church affiliation, it's unnecessary and primitive. I'm sure you have a gut instinct on this and I'd stick with it, don't let your surroundings dictate your child rearing...and why is it that the ones who are so big on what church you go to are the biggest hypocrites??? ***

***The following comment was made possible by 20 years of living in Arkansas and should not be considered to be that on par with living in Texas in anyway shape or form.

Rhea said...

Marie - Captain Jack is beyond yummy. Hey, I want a magic wand and a money tree too! Good idea.

Alison - Good point about accepting the decisions you make and making them out of love.

Trublmaka - Oh, most people DO have it more together than I do, I just know it. :o)

Tez - We are in a great public school district. That stinks you were forced to go to church for so long.

Kim - I agree, there are good and bad people at church, and just going doesn't make you a good person.

Angie - glad you enjoyed your morning drool over Johnny Depp. Thanks for your sweet comments!!

Crystal Chick - I'm so sorry your comment was lost before it posted. I HATE it when that happens, especially after I type a long one.

Rhea said...

Laura - What a neat idea to go to a different church each Sunday for a while to check out the different religions. Because over all I want them to know ABOUT religion and have choices and have tolerance for other's beliefs. Thanks!!

Kat - Church can be very social for most, I think. It's often about the support network and belonging to a community. And, I agree, making the decision is the angst part and then once it's made I'm usually good.

San - Thank you so much for the award! That's so sweet of you! I will come claim it soon.

One Wired Woman/Jill - I like your nickname. I need one of those magic pills you speak of too. :o)

Heather - Guys in black eye-liner rock, I agree. (just don't tell hubby)

Good & Crazy - I made my decision! I love your bags, I'm so excited I won one. I like the silk one best, I think. Thank you!!

Liz Harrell said...

I stumbled onto your blog this afternoon and read this with great interest. I think this is a universal desire, at least it is for me. I would vote 'no' on setting school aside and working for a while. I got a job after I graduated, saying I would do graduate school 'later.' Never happened.

Your a very good writer, by the way.

Rhea said...

All Things BD - I think you're right in that we really don't screw up our kids as much as we think. Thanks for your input.

Complaint Department Manager - The question people usually ask is, "What church do you attend?" not "Do you attend church?" lol So, I think you might be right about the Southern social pressure to go to church. I'm not huge on organized religion, I have to admit.

Liz - Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! It's nice to meet you and thanks for your sweet words. :o)

david mcmahon said...

Rhea, this is a great post on so many levels. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Really enjoyed your recent comment on my blog - especially that my corny sense of humour made you groan!

crazy4danes said...

Oh man it sounds like a post you should have written for me! Why do we beat ourselves up all the time?! I have the same issues and fears and concerns, and I could definitely use a compass to tell me what to do!!! Well, since I'm in the same position all I can do is say "good luck", trust that we are genuinely good and are trying our best for our families!

Katherine said...

I really think we make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time (both external info. and internal gut stuff), and then we live with those decisions without beating ourselves up about them. At a later time, with more/different info., we might change our minds.

YES YES YES on finishing school. It gets you through doors you couldn't otherwise go through. It usually helps you get paid more for your precious time. It can refine your talents.

If you're unsure about church, visit a few and let the boys decide. I agree, in some areas of the country they also serve other social/community needs in addition to offering religion.

Mostly, I applaud you for ASKING THE QUESTIONS ... some great person once said ...If you keep asking the Questions, eventually you will, eventually, some day, Live your way into the answers. And, the point is ... to live everything. To live the questions, now.

I enjoyed your post. katherine

Jules said...

Hey Rhea! Looks like everyone said what I thought of saying but so much better than could.
And aren't kids wonderful. They are our moral compasses.

Chatterness said...

As your blogger friend, I will attempt to put my coins in on your questions, ok?

1. Yes, send your children to church even though you are unsure of your beliefs. Give them the opportunity to make their religious decisions.

2. As a public school servant, I'd have to say that b/c public schools are federally funded, they have more $$$$$ to accommodate individual needs and programs that suit those needs. Public schools send teachers to intensive trainings that private schools cannot afford. Public schools require that all teachers have the required credentials to teach in that particular grade and subject while private schoools do not have those requirements.

3. Leaving Austin. Not a big deal. Moving is great and children are very resilient!!

4. Finish the degree!!

5. Use those writing skills to continue entertaining your fans (like me) and also use them to finish up your degree!!

Jennifer S said...

Yeah, please let me know when you find that kind of compass. I will most definitely want to borrow it.

You're asking great questions, and I've asked plenty of them myself (I vote yes on going back to school...I'm going to do the same thing. It's seems like one of those things a person never regrets.)

As for the rest, you've gotten better advice than I could give, already. I hope you'll keep us up to date on some of those decisions.

CrystalChick said...

Being I lost yesterdays response, I'll try to rmember what I rambled on about.....
Who doesn't like a drunk, slightly confused hunky pirate?
Of course your kids should see times when you make mistakes so when they make them they'll understand it's okay. We're human.
Don't be hard on yourself, you're a great Mom.
My daughter went to public school and I wish we had been able to afford private as it was hard for her to learn in such a routine way. Teachers with lessons planned out by the state can be so boring. Not that some teachers aren't completely wonderful!! But there are those who really never went the extra mile or did anything for kids who had trouble with the routine book work. She graduated, but one teacher senior year made it soooo difficult. She had no compassion and didn't believe my daughter was anything other than lazy. Now, I certainly have had those issues with her, AND STILL DO, but with regard to schoolwork, other teachers told me when they worked on special projects or did things outside of the daily workbook she did better. That teacher had been there sooooo long that she was in this very high and mighty power position and instead of inspiring her in some way, she just got mean and scared her and was disrespectful to me. She might be loved by many and thought of as very intelligent but I wasn't impressed and have little respect for someone like that.
My son is also in public school and learning that way is a little easier for him, but I still notice that many teachers give off a certain attitude and don't like requests or challenges. Again, there are many terrific ones, but across the board I wouldn't say our district was exceptional.
Take your time with the degree. Of course if you and hub decide you need to work for family finances that's one thing, but being home with the kids, writing on the side as you're awesome at it and getting the degree at your pace would be the ideal.
Religion.... always a tough one to discuss. We baptized our children Catholic but really only for the blessing or the ritual of it. Or the gathering of friends and family afterwards. To us, it's a personal decision. If our kids want to know about religion they can ask or if they want to attend services, we'd take them. They each have a Bible, my hub is very knowledgeable about it, but he doesn't usually say much as it would still only be his interpretion of it. We have Bhagavad Gita's and books on Buddhism and other reading materials in our home. My son has been to a temple and an Indian parade and to a performance of the Ramayana. So they know in addition to Jesus there was a Krishna and a Buddha, etc. and that each religion has it's followers and none of them are wrong. It's the way the participants are judging of people who don't believe one thing or another that is wrong.
And yes, our pets are there for us for everything. :)
Whew.... done.

i beati said...

great post it wasn't until the hurricane and we were out of everything for a week did I realize how dependent I am

Valarie Lea said...

Ok, I have to weigh in on this one. :) I am a Christian, I am a believer, I am the daughter of the One True Living GOD. :)

I have gone to church all my life. I was raised Baptist, and will probably be Baptist until I die. Ya know what though that is just my affiliation with a church. That is not what being a Christian or a Beliver is about. I have a relationship with God, I can talk to him just like I am talking to you, and he leads me in the direction I should go. Sounds alot like an internal compass, but I think we should call it an eternal compass.

I am not for beating someone over the head with a Bible and telling them that they will go to H - E - Double hockey sticks if they don't believe the way I believe. I think there are people at churches who don't know what they are talking about, and lead people in the wrong direction. I also feel there are people who don't go to church and don't know what they are talking about, because they have not experienced a relationship with God, that lead people in the wrong direction.

Rhea, life can sometimes overwhelm us with the decisions we have to make, but I am glad to know that I have my eternal compass to lean on. Now do I always get the answers I want, NO. Do I always know what decision to make, NO. Do I have faith the God will lead me in the direction He has for me, YES. Is that direction for the best, YES.

I know this is a long comment, and I did not get to say everything I needed to say. If you want you can e.mail me and I can try to answer any questions you might have. Notice I said try I do not have all the answers, none of us do. :) I will leave you with this though....

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Rhea said...

I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone for taking the time to read and comment and let me know your thoughts. I really appreciate it!!

Tiffany said...

This is such a great post. For me, it's to live my life as the kind of person I want my son to become.

I actually wrote a whole post on it when I started blogging a few moths ago. I think it's important for your kids to see you make mistakes and move on. They need to know that one can recover and go forward.

As parents, we could kill ourselves second guessing every decision. Listen to your inner voice, you intuition, God, whatever you want to call it, as I have found it doesn't ever leave me astray. I may not always like what "it" has to say, but I know what is right.

The fact that you are even pondering this question says a lot about the kind of person you are.

Utter Basketcase said...

I must be pregnant! I blubbered my little heart out over this post! LOL

Those questions only you can answer.

I personally look up to you and hope that I am even half as good of a Mother that you are, when the time comes for my belly bean to need me.

Oh! And I have one of those compasses (as a widget on my sidebar) *GiGGLeS*

Well! It's not quite what you are after, but you can ask it questions! :-P



Utter Basketcase said...

BTW.... Johnny Depp....... YUMMY! xxx

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written post. Sounds like you've been doing a lot of thinking.

Meanwhile - Thanks for the pictures of Jack Sparrow & Annie. Those are two things that make me smile as well :)

Cristin said...

Ok... this post makes me love you. Not in a lesbo/stalker kinda way... more like a sit down and kill a bottle of wine and solve the worlds problems kinda way... we think a lot alike....