Today I want to share the final two questions of the interview done by Elisabeth. I have several more to go, but these two jumped at me today and asked to be part of the blog. It is quite cold here, I am fighting with the idea of turning on the furnace to take the chill out of the house, and well, you will understand when you read them.
What are some of the most important lessons you learned over the course of your life?
This question is too serious. I want to answer something goofy like, how to take out the garbage or how to change a diaper or how to clean up cat puke. [Perhaps my real answer should be how to keep a blog organized and going. Somedays I look at my statistics and think, “When and why did I write all those posts, and who really took the time to read them?” I suspected the teacher put in this question to make them get the feel of what real journalists do. I remember being editor at the local newspaper and interviewing new people when they came to town, these thought provoking questions were the ones I always wanted to ask, but I stuck to the simple, where did you come from, why are you here sort of thing. Mostly I interviewed the new clergy or gave the new teachers or coaches a form to fill out for the back to school edition of the paper. I was always pushed to interview significant members of the community. I never did that job, I think the owner was more relieved than I was when I finally moved on from that job. Seriously, I know too much of the history of this town and the people. It seems that each time someone is featured for some accomplishment or simply for being a life-long citizen, there is someone who remembers something of the past that is a bit seedy, and well it sort of takes the sails out of the “nice” interview. I guess that is why I gave some goofy answers to Elisabeth, even if she didn’t put them all into her paper. I was trying to be more real. I have lots of reasons not to be the start attraction or the one held up as the roll model. Unless of course you are practicing to be that crabby old woman who comes out onto her back porch and yells at children and teenagers with their BB guns.]
Actually some of the hardest things to learn include when to speak up and when to keep silent. As you get older you begin to learn that being right is not always what is important. It is how you treat people. My mother told me a very wise thing when I became a teacher. She seriously believed that no childless person should ever be allowed to teach. It isn’t a practical thing, but she realized that I was being really harsh about a student, and she told me that until you have children of your own and you see them hurt, you have no idea what can be done to their feelings. As I get older and see some of the struggles that some children endure, I realize that in many ways, she was very wise.
What is the secret to a happy marriage?
There is no secret, you have good times and bad times. My mother told me that when a couple first gets married they are so in love that everything works out, later they become tied together by children and home and finances and then you are stuck. I always thought that was a horrible way to look at marriage. I was 25 when I met James, and he was 26. We were mature and had our educations, which made a big difference for us. Besides being attracted to each other, we had similar interests and soon became best friends. I also credit the four sessions that we had with the minister before we were married. He and his wife had us talk about things we might not have discussed before they became issues, like how much money is too much to spend without consulting the other and who decides which way the furniture sets, and just goofy little things.
[Having lived with him for 33 years, I think that I could handle the sessions with a couple. I seriously believe that the finances are a big part of the stresses of marriage. Who earns the money; who spends it? How do you save, invest, donate? These are all important things to be able to discuss. We had one session on what would be a deal breaker for us. What one thing that the other did would make you walk out and not look back. Over the years, I have come to know that trust is the one thing you must have. You might be madly in love, but if you don’t trust them there is nothing. Respect is nice, but you can sort of respect someone, but still not trust them, and you can love someone without either. Trust, I believe is also the hardest to repair once it is broken. It takes a long time to heal that wound, and to me it is much like those goofy little cuts that break open on your fingers, they are really difficult to put back together, and then all of a sudden it is good. Weird.]
So, this is all of my interview for today. I would be interested in hearing your answers to either of the questions. It might be an interesting dialogue.