I just went from joy to bitter disappointment in the space of seconds. I had an exciting idea, but it was something I needed feedback and discussion about. I wanted to turn to a trusted partner and say, “What do you think about this?” But I felt deflated because there was no one there. I recently shared with you how much I miss having someone to take care of, but I also strongly miss having a partner who’s there to listen and to help me plot how we can move forward in life together. The best marriages are sort of a “mutual aid society,” an arrangement by which each person is fully committed to helping the other become the best he or she can be. It was actually so late tonight when I had this thought that a partner might very well have been asleep already. But it would have been enough to say to myself, “We can talk about that tomorrow” — if I knew someone cared and wanted to be part of that conversation with me. I miss that kind of relationship. Doesn’t everyone need this?
Here’s more evidence that the modern U.S. school system is badly broken. It was once a reasonable assumption that a high school graduate who was accepted to a major college could read and write competently. For years, colleges have known their incoming freshmen’s writing was mostly dreadful, so they’ve been forced to teach students to write. (They’ve done it very poorly.) Now it has become obvious that basic reading skills among freshmen are so terrible that some colleges must now teach kids how to read. At the University of California at Santa Cruz, all incoming freshmen will now take a mandatory three-course sequence which will teach them how to read and understand what they’re reading, in addition to trying to teach them how to write. If a student has made it this far in life without learning how to read and write, this probably won’t work, but the system will eventually be dumbed down to ignore the failure. Parents who trust the modern school system to educate their children are gambling with their kids’ lives. The system is broken.
Catholic priest Richard Rohr is a well-known writer and teacher on several subjects, one of which is the Enneagram. Most of his work with which I’ve been familiar is related to spiritual and psychological development. I recently discovered that someone has posted a good bit of one of his Enneagram workshops on YouTube and I’d like to recommend that if you have any interest in the Enneagram personality typing system. It was only about six months ago that I discovered I’m actually a Type 1 (instead of a Type 4), so I’ve been watching various teachers talk about that type lately. Rohr happens to be a Type 1 as well, and his description of the type — and especially his self-criticism — struck home with me. Here are links to his teaching about most of the types: Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, Type 5, Type 6, Type 9. (Types 7 and 8 are missing.) You might also enjoy an interview that Krista Tippett did with Rohr for the On Being podcast two years ago. It was listening to that interview again this week which prompted me to go find his Enneagram teaching. I don’t always agree with Rohr about everything, but he’s always thought-provoking.