Friday, April 15, 2011

Letting Go or Giving Up?

Recent events in our community gave me pause to wonder if I should take on a certain, specific role of responsibility. I won't say what it is, only that it would involve attending many meetings and events throughout the next school year.

The reason for the consideration is that My Lovely Wife and I have definite opinions about what should happen, how it should happen, and who should be doing it. We've recently spent way too much time thinking and talking about all the different things that, in our version of a perfect world, need to be accomplished.

So, I've been toying with the idea of stepping up to put my money where my mouth is. After all, there are few things more irritating than a gutless loudmouth, and I know there have been times in my life when I have been one.

Over the past few days, as my leanings have shifted to and fro, I've had to take as full an account as possible of my existing responsibilities.

Certainly not more important than family, but I address it first because without my paycheck, I'm not much of a provider. Work requires attention to clients and projects. It requires analysis of trends and predictions of usage. It requires trips to Ohio, DC, Virginia and Maryland, in addition to other states as necessary. I frequently am able to control my schedule, but there are times of inflexibility.

We have three. One will enter high school next year and two will be in fourth grade. Every weekend in the fall will be filled with high school marching band activities, and every weekday will be filled with dance class, Boy Scouts, band, school play practice, Girl Scouts, yoga, and playdates. Add band concerts, play performances, and dance recitals and you have a pretty full schedule.

I have one. I enjoy spending time with her. I often don't have the ability in the course of a normal day to spend as much time with her as I would like.

Family & Friends.
We have those, too. As opportunities arise to spend time with friends and family, we appreciate being able to take advantage of them. In the past year or two, we have made a concerted effort to participate in more activities with people who, in the past, we might not have made time for. As a result, our social life has improved dramatically, and we feel for the first time in a long time that we have an honest to goodness social network of friends.

This is, perhaps, the most selfish part of my argument, but in case you hadn't noticed, I enjoy writing. I've finally arrived at a place in my life that affords me the luxury of time to write. In addition to this blog, which serves as a wonderfully therapeutic means for me to vent the errant thoughts that cloud my mind, I also am 90% complete with the first draft of a novel. In the past two weeks since this recent community event erupted into our lives, I have not completed any writing.

I fully realize that others who choose to lead often sacrifice some, if not all, of these things. For better or for worse, I am not the kind of person who can so readily do the same. Time is fleeting. I have no interest in mourning a lost minute with my family for a transient cause du jour. Trust me, I'm the kind who would.

My conclusion? If I'm not willing to jump in and help lead things down the path I believe they should be taking, then I need to shut my mouth and support the best efforts of those who are. Not so much giving up, I see it more as letting go.

© 2011 Mark Feggeler


  1. school board, huh? :) best of luck should you choose to pursue!

  2. You know, life is like a toddler's diet. It's not a matter of balance on an everyday basis (or in the case of life, on a monthly/annual basis) but a balance that happens in the long-run.

    For example, a toddler might eat nothing but fruit one day, and then the next, goes on a grain kick. The next day, they eat gobs of peanut butter. By the end of the week, a balance most likely happens.

    Perhaps now you are willing/able to carve out the time to take on this responsibility. Perhaps not. But if work and family and friends and interests take precedence right now, a bit later, you will probably be able to step up.

    Was it Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel that wrote the line about mere survival being a noble cause?

  3. Close, Betsy, but not the school board. And Sioux, the balance thing sounds good, but I'd rather be remembered by my children for being there for them than mostly forgotten by people who 10 years from now will be strangers.