Blame it on Kathryn and Brenda, two writer friends. At lunch today, we confessed to a shrinking desire to write and vowed to up our game. We chatted about a variety of topics to pursue, and mine was evolution of a person, culture, religion, pastimes….
A friend told me about Father Richard Rohr’s series of meditations Meditations@cac.org and encouraged me to subscribe to the site. “It’s right up your alley. You’ll love it,” she said. And she was right. I especially like the prayer that accompanies the daily reading. I’m sharing only the first two sentences today. I love them, and honestly, who hasn’t felt the truth of the second line about more of reality being revealed?
A few weeks ago the meditations theme for the week was evolution. I thought Now that’s going to upset some people. But after I began reading, I realized it was not about our human origins but about how we evolve as individuals over our lifetimes…and the same for cultures. Everything changes. Words, literature, traditions, styles, occupations. Count on it. Nothing stays the same.
I thought of myself. I was a once a cute baby, and for a couple of years, my parents’ only child, the first of four. They were only nineteen when I was born, an age that seems crazy young from my vantage point today. While it’s true that there are plenty of young people that age who have children, but it’s rarer than it was a half century or more ago. Fewer babies are being born today, and interestingly, teen pregnancy has declined substantially (at least in the United States).
But that’s not what I meant to write about.
I want write a little about a person’s evolvement/evolution throughout life. We’re infants who can’t even get speak or get our own snacks. We can vocalize our discomfort by crying, and it’s pretty effective in the short run. At some point toward the end of the first year, infants begin using actual words, an achievement that makes our wants more specific. Following that, instead of saying cookie, we can say Oreo or Saltine. That happened to me. In my baby book (something mothers often kept decades ago), I read, “Jane says so many new words that I can’t write them all down.”
My mother enjoyed telling me about how Daddy would say, “Make her talk, Margie. Make her talk.” Apparently, I didn’t need too much encouragement because soon, he would say, “Make her hush, Margie.” Too late, Papalops. I learned the power of words at a young age, and although I’ve never been particularly loquacious, communicating and connecting are two of my favorite activities. This might be a good time to mention that generally speaking, girls speak sooner than boys and have larger vocabularies…something about language centers in the brain and how they’re wired differently according to gender.
A couple of weeks before my second birthday, my brother Mike was born, an event that changed the family dynamic. Two years later, Ann joined our family, and three years after her birth, another brother, David, came along and completed the circle. We still had lots of evolving ahead.
Years passed, and I went to elementary school and learned to read like most other American kids. Made friends. Went through the lunch line in an orderly fashion. Wore skirts and dresses since girls couldn’t wear pants to school then. Except on the coldest of winter days, that is. Then we could wear corduroy slacks beneath our skirts. I was, like all the kids I knew, clumped together with the same group of students for a whole year, all day. But then middle school came along, and we attended classes with different people. You might have English with Buddy but not math, biology, or history. Plus, the teachers differed as did the classrooms. But that dress code—it didn’t change.
I’m already over my self-imposed word limit of 600 words so I’m closing my laptop. But you know something? I’m into this evolution concept. As the grandmother of children all the ages I have been, I can easily see their physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual growth and enjoy speculating about their tomorrows.
What about you? How have you evolved? Can you see it happening?