There are many things parents would agree they want for their children. Health. Love. Family and friends. Success, defined as "a respectable job that pays well enough to provide all of the essentials, and some of the luxuries, of life."
But you know what I most want for each of my kids? I want them to have a rich inner life.
You can lose your health, your lover, even your family and friends. You can lose your job and your home. In disasters, you can lose your ability to put food on the table.
Back in 1992, I reprised a column I'd written even earlier. I find that I still don't have much to add. So here it is again. Happy holidays!
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody. It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
The last couple weeks of the year are precious to me.
The library's budget has been adopted for the next year. The meetings tend to be put off till January, because lots of people have taken time off.
The frenzy of shopping is done. The parties are over. Now comes one of the true gifts of the year: time to think.
So much of our lives is conducted as if we were in some kind of speed trial. Or as I read in "The World is Flat," by Thomas Friedman,
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
Back in my wanderin' days, I was hiking a federal trail outside Los Angeles. As I was walking along an arroyo -- a high ridge beside a dry stream bed -- I got a sudden urge.
I resisted. It was a hot, dry day. The stream bed was a good 8 feet down. The ground was rocky and uneven.
I felt distinctly uneasy.
And as I dropped, I heard a high whizzing sound, a WHING!