Tuesday, February 28, 2006

At More Crossroads

I was approached at work to see if I was interested in entering a management post and it started me thinking.

In my 20's I would have beamed and accepted.

The army slogan "Be all that you can be ", the Star Wars "It is your destiny" and my professors' urges to "Reach your full potential " were still ringing in my ears. I did reach my full potential but in a different field. I had 5 children before I was 30. I kept dabbling in my career between pregnancies . I have no regrets. It was one of the happiest periods in my life.

Again in my 30's I would have felt a thrill to take on a management position and jumpstart my professional career.

I felt confident that I could take the lead. Instead my husband and I chose another adventure. We moved to London with our 5 children and started over in new workplaces and in a different cultural environment. Again a amazing time in our lives.

Now I am almost 40 faced with a chance to move "up" into management. I am hesitating.

I am not confident-perhaps because I am wiser. There is so much I learn, relearn and have to unlearn each day in my workplace. Technology changes, I forget procedures that I do not perform often, and I am used to doing things differently having been trained in a different culture and time.
Management issues are as complicated as trying to help 30 employees recognize and appreciate each others' differences. Bureacracy is insurmountable unless you are insanely patient. Management and their big picture mentality no longer appeal to me. I don't feel the urge to Change the World as I once did. Am I complacent? I can't change the NHS but I can improve the life of my patients for the 8 hours they are in my care. The little picture is where I find my job satisfaction.
I am 39 and would dread entering a management position . Do I have a responsibility to try and improve the bigger picture or is it enough to make my corner of the world a little better?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Big Questions

Last night my teenage son Liam asked me if scientists can believe in God. Little did he know that the question has been mused upon for years and has been rekindled as the proponants of Evolution face off against Intelligent Design.

BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day today made sense to me when thinking about the debate between being both a scientist and having religous beliefs. The commentators premise seemed to be that Sciance asks "how "and religion asks "why". Two totally different questions that need not be asked in relation to one another.

I hold both a Bachelor of Science degree . There are many things we still do not understand but that doesn't mean that our lack of knowledge means there is an intelligent designer. It means our curiousity should drive us to further our knowledge.

I am also a Christian. There are also many things I do not understand about God and I search too for deeper understanding but here my questions are different. I do not wish to understand how God is but why God is and how does this effect living life. Faith seeking knowledge as St Benedictine would say. Do not be afraid to question and search.

So what happens when science and faith meet as in the discussion of miracles. Could it be that miracles in scientific terms is a name for something we can not yet explain? And in religous terms my faith is not challenged by the presence of miracles or lack of them as faith built on the need for proof is not faith. Asking how a miracle happens--leave that to science. It would be incredible to understand. Asking why miracles happen-- launches me further on in my search for their significance.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

To Print or Not...

We had a heated debate in the house last evening over the satirical cartoons portraying Mohammed that originated in a Denmark paper. I find these debates, which border on arguments, usually end up clarifying my thoughts and teaching me about myself and the world.

My basic premise was that we shouldn't be disrespectful another's culture and faith. I hope I can teach my children to respect the beliefs and rights and others. I also proposed that it's wrong to republish the cartoons, re-igniting the radical Islamic fringe.

As the debate commenced, the following points impressed me:

  1. Political cartoons have never been respectful of any person or group. That is the point of satire. It is in the nature of journalism to be the public watchdog -- not a popular role as their targets are not always considered the bad guys . Their targets are indiscriminate -- from Tony Blair and George Bush to Christian bishops, Jewish settlers and, yes, to Muslims.

  2. Repeated printing of the cartoons were a sign of solidarity with the papers in Denmark and express a defiant attitude to support freedom of speech. As to solidarity, I think Denmark would rather have this over quickly and reprints seem to inflame the situation, prolonging it. As to a freedom of speech issue, I think the media has shown that the vast majority of Muslims, despite taking offense, value the importance of freedom of speech. In response they speak publicly, demonstrate peacefully and avoid the papers, just as we would if the Pope was portrayed blowing up abortion clinics.

  3. The radical fringe of Muslims are using the cartoons as a justification for violence. They are not representative of the true Islamic community. They're more like the angry, violent drunk you sometimes meet on the street outside a pub. Do you taunt him or would you walk away?
I think the newspapers need to be asking themselves a similar question: Should they continue to run this political cartoon taunting a violent fringe and, if so, to what purpose?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Feat Equal to the Slaying of any Orc

On the BBC "Thought for the Day" the speaker left me with a inspiring message.
Evil gets passed around so easily.
One insult leads to another in retort and it spreads.
To stop evil --'turn the other cheek' and it is trapped.
It dies with you.
And you are the victor.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Way Life is Supposed to Be

I used to watch a 1970s ahow called Leave It to Beaver when I was 8 years old. If you have seen the movie Pleasantville you will have experienced the same idea. Both showed how family life is supposed to be. Now I am almost 40 and I am glad that I watch Malcom in the Middle.

Between 8 and 40 I tried to understand why I couldn't read all those child rearing magazines without feeling a failure. Have you ever picked up a parenting magazine ? It told me what I was not so I stopped reading them. I became a mom by getting to know my kids.

I have 5 children (not 2.5 ) and they are in 2 bedrooms. I do like that all my children find their personal space without being reclusive. I do mind having only 1 bathroom.

The first time I walked into a friends home and found it messy and dusty it gave me a huge amount of comfort. We have stayed the best of friends (one I don't have to clean for).

Sometimes dinner is made by Pedro at the pizza delivery place and sometimes the dishes wait on the counter until morning to be washed. This means I get to chill out with my kids.

Often Dad tucks the girls into bed because mom gets grumpy when she is tired (anytime after 8pm). They get time with Dad and I get time on the couch.

As my sister Anne says "Life is life".

Life isn't supposed to be any certain way and that is a huge relief. I am free to make it more.