Friday, October 27, 2006

What's My Personal Truth?

The world of textbook writing is one of a virtual reality. It seems real, kids think it's real, but it's not real. It's a world ruled by don'ts and nos. No violence, no back-talking, no sarcasm, no conflict*. No politics other than perfect democracy. No gray areas. No evolution. No pregnancy**. No extremes: No poverty, no wealth--often no discussion or storyline that implies going to college is a given.

We are in this position because in the United States our textbooks must be approved by government-run committees that are heavily influenced (harassed, bedeviled by) extremely powerful lobbying groups from both the extreme left and the extreme right.

Which is why you'll never find a story about modern Native Americans--unless it's been totally scrubbed clean of any actual problems.

I've had to absorb far more than the normal amount of new guidelines this week as two moderate-sized projects started this week. They were supposed to start weeks apart, but they didn't. So I'm scrambling and worried. AND a third, much smaller project started this week ALSO, which is providentially almost identical to what I was doing for a different company at a different grade level two months ago. So I'm swamped--but still treading water at this point.

Nevertheless, with all these do's and don'ts in my head, as I read through my horoscope online this morning it said, "Everything will be fine today as long as you are honest about your personal truth." And I thought, "What? What is my personal truth? That wasn't in any of the guidelines!"

My personal truth is that my property taxes are due in 8 weeks, I need gas money to get to Indiana in November, and my sons want to invite 20 kids to go bowling with them for their fifth birthday. They don't need that. They could do without that. But my twins are very happy, satisfied little people who have, up until now, limited their requests to things like "Can I have a peanut-butter bread, please?" So I find myself wanting to give them this party they have asked for. (Plus, the bowling alley people order the cake and clean up afterwards. That totally limits the number of people who will see my dog-vomit stained carpet.)

My personal truth is that I want more money in my emergency fund and I can't promise I won't worry and complain a bit here for the next month (as these are very short, intense assignnments), but I'm happy to have the work. That's my personal truth. I guess as long as I can remember that my real guidelines are the ones that come to me throughout the day for hugs and snuggles, then I guess I can live with the virtual reality for a little bit longer.

*unless it can be neatly resolved to everyone's satisfaction in a win-win way that reinforces judeo-christian values

**possible exception: brief, cheery mention of "my mommy's gonna have a baby."

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