The Vanishing American Adult

“We are going to need America’s children to rise to their best in the years to come, because a nation of adult-children cannot be a nation of self-governing people.
“A plea for self-discipline and self-control is the one and only dignified alternative to discipline and control from without. For in this broken world of lawless souls, there will be control; there will be government. Order-seeking and security-seeking people, as well as those in search of power for their own purposes, will invariably seek to hold back the chaos of the world. The question is whether people will control themselves or submit to the control of others.” Ben Sasse
When I was a college student in my thirties, I found a couple simple ways for dealing with stress. And not to brag, but my stress was significant.
I had a part-time job as a bank teller, and yes, that’s a stressful job. I was a single mother dealing with the aftermath of an antagonistic divorce, a leaky roof, and a car that somehow seemed invisible to other drivers who would periodically hit it with their cars.
Stress-relief 101 included a more than once a week walk through the grocery store. These trips were not the weekly restocking of my larder, in which my five children typically participated thereby generally ensuring the opposite of stress relief. My solo store visits were brief times at the end of classes. They included listening to benign music and unwinding while making a few small purchases mostly involving comfort foods.  Continue reading “The Vanishing American Adult”

The Food of the Soul

“As Chesterton saw, it is the search for truth that keeps us sane, because it always brings us back to reality. And why is reality so important? It is what we are made for. Reality is the food of the soul.” Stratford Caldecott
In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance includes a moment from his youth when he didn’t understand the difference between intelligence and knowledge” (59). A classmate had shown off his multiplication skills. Vance had yet to realize the concept even existed.
He felt stupid. In response to his sense of failure, Vance’s grandfather devoted time once a week to drilling the youngster in mathematical concepts. Papaw showed patience when Vance got frustrated. Papaw crowned success with ice cream. The lessons stuck.
But Papaw wasn’t the only one to enrich Vance’s mind. His mother introduced him to the library and encouraged reading in the home. His father introduced him to faith.
Papaw was a rock of stability for the boy. Mom? A sea of dysfunction. Dad? Absent in his early years. But what they gave was enough. Small meals of wonder. Continue reading “The Food of the Soul”