My wife, son and I visited Manhattan this past weekend.
We returned Sunday, well most of us did. My son’s mind remained on the Kansas State University campus and in Aggieville.
He officially moves into the K-State dorms in mid August, but he has already checked out of Great Bend. This is as it should be – time to move on and tackle the next challenges life sends his way.
It was a weekend of campus tours and orientation sessions, culminating with his enrollment. On his part, there was a palpable excitement and sense of anticipation of what lie ahead. There was also a tinge of apprehension and uncertainty. This, too, is as it should be.
As a parent of three kids and a journalist, my children’s lives have been fodder for my writing for over 20 years. With each one, as they reach life’s milestones or learn valuable lessons (often the hard way), I have documented these occasions. This playing out of their lives in print for the world to read draws sighs for disgust and chagrin from my offspring.
But, like childhood photos that dwindle in number with each child, these comments have also ebbed. Perhaps, I am just preparing my brain for life without children around the house. Perhaps I’ve run out of things to say.
Beyond the “don’t drink,” “don’t smoke,” “keep your mind on school not girls,” “don’t do as I did in college” and “stay away from dollar pitcher nights and sloe gin” speeches, not much else remains to be said.
Since we are dealing with a teenager, there wasn’t a lot of verbal discourse whilst in the Little Apple. Our attempts at telepathy also failed. But, there was plenty of unspoken communication.
In some of the material the KSU admissions office gave to parents, they advised not to shoulder our children with unreasonable expectations. We all have our wish lists for our kids. And, whether they tell us or not, they have lists of their own.
Wishing is a wonderful thing, if it leads to concrete action. It takes more than Tinkerbelle waving her wand to make things happen.
All this sentimental mush has a point.
The Great Bend City Council Monday night launched on their annual budget quest. It started with city staff members presenting their wish lists for the upcoming year.
These ranged from the simple – be good stewards of public money and continue infrastructure improvements – to the more complex – push for the funding of the Northwest Passage and promoting the community as a healthy place to live. They also want to assure that all city employees “maintain a positive attitude.”
The Barton County Commission also heard a laundry lists of wants Monday and Tuesday as it starts its budget process.
There’s an old adage that goes “wish in one hand, #@%& in the other. See which one gets filled first.” I think this was Confucius on an off day without his espresso and after he stubbed his toe.
In other words, whether you are a doe-eyed college freshman, a city, county or a nation, your actions speak louder than your wishes.
Our officials are to be lauded for their planning. We can’t shun civic improvements that will bolster our community, even though they may cost us a little more. That is not to say we must sacrifice fiscal responsibility.
So, to my son I say “study and do your homework,” and to officialdom, I say, well, “study and do your homework.” All this material will be on the test.
Dale Hogg is the managing editor of the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.