Last night I watched the first episode of The Last Alaskans. I loved it. I think about the wilderness, the way of life depicted in the Docuseries, and how I would measure up, all the time. One thing that I take away from my own thoughts on this, and then certainly its reinforced while watching this show; that the first priority that these folks share, is life. Just to live, to stay alive. I don’t know first-hand, but I think it would suit all of us well, to know and understand the reality of that scenario. In our day-to-day lives walking among the so-called civilized, when was the last time you spent your day actively planning and pursuing actions that were so basic as to just live another day, another week, another season, etc. Maybe you did, but I don’t think we even know how to think in those terms, truly. We have everything we could ever need or want all around us, and much of our life is assumed. Thus, the refreshing line of thought, for me anyway, on the simple pleasure of living, life first.
The characters of the show are new to me. I can tell you already that I am liking them, or at least how they are shown in the series. I will mention two folks, Ray Lewis and Bob Harte. First, Ray Lewis struck me right away. Watching the clips of him make me feel like I am watching an articulate, gentle-souled, woodsman, a pioneer, from 200 years ago, but I get to see him in the present. I somehow think that walking the wilderness with him would be both, educational and a treat.
Then there’s Bob Harte who lives with his past mistakes, in physical solitude, but never is emotionally alone. I can’t help but think of myself when I hear his words describing his past, as he stays close to the then, while passing through the now. I posted a couple of his quotes (below) from last night’s first episode. These simple words begin to shed light on the life that he, that these characters, lead in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“Match my wits against the extreme. That’s what I love.” ~ Bob Harte
“It’s easy to die up here. Everything else is work.” ~ Bob Harte
I find myself staring into the beautiful spaces that God created and letting my mind wander over the hills, through the valleys, and along the streams. In my mind all of it is wild, all of it is untouched, and all of it is revered by mankind. From the path my mind wanders along, I see the people who now walk the streets of gold, the ones we loved here on earth. I long to sit and visit with them again. I long to hear the familiar laughter that each of them often contributed to our family gatherings. I ache to look into the eyes of those heroes who have gone before me. In those eyes, there are windows to all-time, the windows dressed in love are unmistakable. The eyes invite you in to sit and stay for awhile, they exude love, and portray a confidence that all will be just fine, for where we are gathered, He is there also. Try looking into the eyes of a loved one, maybe an older one, but one who has assured their eternal salvation by giving their life to Christ, and tell me you don’t see all I have described here, and more.
I wrote this piece two years ago, and this morning, I honor my aunt’s life by posting the original words I wrote.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
One night a couple of months ago, I was tired and my mind was overflowing. I needed at least a little downtime and some quiet. I sat alone at my keyboard, and I felt a poem, a rhythm, that I needed to capture.
Eventually I turned on some music and I came across this instrumental that I have grown to thoroughly enjoy. To me, this tune playing and the flow of words go hand in hand. That’s how I see it and hear it. Either way, this is how it came out.
I came across this and had to share it. Short, sweet, to the point. Accurate.
“If your parents had to use a wooden spoon on you, then they clearly didn’t know how to parent you.”
Yep. I got that email last night after I posted my blog. I honestly had to laugh. Here was a stranger criticizing my parents. I tend to think they did a pretty good job. They raised three, well-rounded children. One is a successful HR exec, one is a journalist and the other is a doctor. Clearly they did something right. And let’s be real for a minute, it wasn’t all about a wooden spoon. It was about manners and respect.
I went home and was talking to my husband about it. He said, “This is why we have a generation of entitled kids.”
I repeated that earlier today and someone asked in shock: “How could you say something like that?!”
Because I have seen it first-hand.
At my last job, there was a young woman who was interning with our station. She showed up to work one day wearing extremely short shorts and a halter top. To work. Our news director at the time said, “You have two options…you can run home and get changed and come back…or you can just go home.” Her response came quickly and loudly: “WHO THE F@#K ARE YOU TO TALK TO ME LIKE THAT? YOU CAN’T TELL ME TO GO HOME!!”
Ahh…and there it is. The entitlement coming out. The “I have never been told no because I want to be your friend…let me give you a trophy because you signed up to play soccer even though you never come to practice, only games…I’m not going to give you a grade on this test because I don’t want you to think you’re a failure, even though you don’t study…you’re going to sit in time-out and then we will discuss why you called your mom the B-word…I can post anything I want on social media because I have freedom of speech…I won’t be held accountable at school because my parents will come and yell at the teacher for me.”
I will say it until I am blue in the face: I am thankful I was raised the way I was raised in the era I was raised in. We used the terms ma’am and sir…we said please and thank you…we wouldn’t dare look at our parents cross-eyed…if we didn’t study, we failed…if we didn’t go to practice, we didn’t play in the game…if we didn’t win, we didn’t get a trophy…if we talked back to our parents, we got the back of my mom’s hand to our mouths…if we used a bad word, we got soap in our mouths…if we acted up in school, our parents were called to the principal’s office and we served detention…if we didn’t like our dinner, then we didn’t eat…if we were late for curfew, we were grounded…if we lied, we had our toys taken away…if we misbehaved in the neighborhood, our neighbors would discipline us…if we didn’t get hired for a job, then we weren’t who they wanted.
We weren’t handled with kid gloves. Our parents let us fall so we learned how to get back up. We were told the word “NO” and told it often. It wasn’t about our parents being “our friends.” It was tough love. Why? Because they knew how tough the world is.
I’m over the “entitlement era.”
I’m nowhere near a perfect parent. I learn something new everyday. But I do know…I want to raise my kids the way I was. Because I don’t want to send spoiled, entitled brats into the world.
There is only one thing I knew: whatever my parents did…worked.
And guess who my best friends are now? Yep. My mom and dad. The ones who were “so mean” growing up.