Recently I have been reading Beowulf with my class. One of the ideas that was prevalent in the time of Beowulf (560 CE) was interlacing, the idea that everyone and everything is connected. Things fall apart when you are disconnected from family, friends and community.
I just returned from a trip to Costco where I bought processed food that I haven't thought of putting into my house for many years. I bought enough calories to potentially feed my family of four for an entire year if we could subsist on just fat, corn syrup products and unrecognizable vegetables. I drove my Honda Odyssey for forty minutes both ways for the privilege of doing this, dragging both of my children with me.
One of the reasons I think this became something to do was because my family is so busy. We rarely have time to sit down together much less have free time. I started back to school and have the stack of papers to prove it. Both children are in soccer and swimming. There is no time for meals. When did making my family nutritious meals become less important than a trip to Costco?
Today at school I learned that one of our students was in a car crash yesterday afternoon. She got out of a friend's car and ran around back to cross the street right into a neighbor's on-coming car. She bounced off of that car into another. This afternoon she lays in a medically induced coma with broken legs and pelvis, lacerated organs, and a swollen brain. Doctors don't know how she made it through the night. Her boyfriend and best friend witnessed the whole thing.
This morning, as my principal is making this announcement, I realized how unconnected I really am -- from my friends, my family, and my community (is there such a thing anymore?).
I'm not sure I always have it in me to be connected. But spending quality time with my kids at Costco is not the way to start. Perhaps something as simple as a rootbeer float is the key to building those connections.