The Journey of Perfection



Happy Friday, Mi Gente!

As is customary at EE and me … a hearty T.G.I.F.!  Sometimes, as Jimi Hendrix used to say, “Excuse me, while I kiss the sky!”

How do “you” view perfection?  Some of the greatest thinkers of our time, and previous times back to folks like Socrates, “know” that perfection is like “true North” or something – a place we seek; but given our so-called human frailties, cannot attain.  Thinking about our world as one of “North, South, East and West”, shapes our perception of things, including each other.  I personally prefer a “circular” concept of thinking that encompasses “all possibilities”.  In other words, not up and down, but ’round and ’round!  What thinketh you?!?  It’s okay, one doesn’t have to agree with me.

We usually have our patterns of thought shaped by and based on our “up bringing” or child rearing practices.  We are simply “socialized” most often by our parent(s), or, if by caretakers by “those” who have similar beliefs as our parent(s).  The greatest emphasis for me was that we treat each other with respect.  While I had an “older sister” and an “older brother” and there was a hierarchy of sorts, especially when it came to household chores and responsibilities, both of my parents encouraged us to be fair with each other, and, to respect each other.  I understand better and appreciate the concept of “fairness” more than a hierarchical concept of “one person on top of another”, in other words a pile of individuals!  Usually, a pile needs a “ruler”, because the pile needs to be organized.  My father, “Big Ike”, was not a high school graduate yet we respected him as the head of our family, our protector, our major breadwinner though my mother also worked multiple part time jobs from Day Care to being a domestic engineer.  Respect was the key word in our household, no matter what ones station in life was.  It was common for either my mother or father to invite people over to our tiny apartment after church for supper … and these were usually people who could “use a meal and a couch” for an afternoon, at least.  I always had a problem understanding why some folks had to “appear” perfect, and never admit their mistakes.  My father was kind of like that … didn’t like to say he was wrong nor did he like to say, “I’m sorry”.  While I understood that he though it would undermine his authority if he did either of the aforementioned, I always felt his support and encouragement as I pursued “new” things for our family like boarding school and “The Ivy League”, neither of which I had ever heard of before I was actually “there”!

Even in my formal education of “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic”, history, science and social studies, there seemed to be an emphasis on fairness and equality.  I was always taught at home to be humble, yet proud (not arrogant) and seek to include everyone and be fair to everyone.  In essence, I was always “taught” that dictators were considered to be dangerous since they didn’t take everyone into account in their leadership, and often catered to the more powerful, like in feudalism.  I never thought that was fair … Even when my father may have made a mistake, and didn’t say he was sorry or anything, he would make up for it by taking a keen interest in all of our lives, from school to sports, trips to Florida from New York during the winters, trips to the Catskills during the summer (he hunted deer there in the winter with good family friends) and he and my mother were there when I graduated from St. Paul’s in Concord, NH as well as picking me up after my graduation from Princeton University.  Shucks, my mother even came to visit me when I was teaching English in Cali, Colombia, South America!  They were always “there”.  Be wary of those who cannot admit imperfection … and continue with their dangerous self centered behavior.


John I. Cook, Director

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