I guess I’d rather live in Tennessee than the Trobriand Islands

Recently, I watched a video on raising children by a Tennessean named Daniel Pearl. He’s kind of a wild man. Lives out in the country where he farms, hunts, fishes, builds his own houses, perfects the art of tomahawkery and knife-throwing, and all that sort of thing. In short, he’s the sort of fellow I’d like to be. Plus, he writes books.

Anyway, with uncivilized youngsters like I have, you need all the training advice you can get your desperate hands on. Pearl had a key idea that struck me, however, as having much wider application than little savages bent on becoming cowboys, Indians, soldiers, spacemen and fireman all at the same time (split second, actually).

The basic idea is this. If you don’t have the following four things, your life is toast. A sense of self worth, creativity, vision, and hope.

I’ve been turning that thought around in my head for a while now. It doesn’t just apply to my six-year-old. It holds true for everyone. It holds true for me. If you don’t have those four things inextricably woven through your soul, life is going to get gray. As a writer, I need those four balanced in me to hone in on the stories I need to tell. But I also need those four components to be a  good dad and husband. Heck, I need ’em to be able to figure out a new experimental pie I’m planning on selling at our farm (I’m getting close to The Final Recipe).

Pearl made another interesting comment later on about the lack of those four components. If you don’t have ’em, then you’re probably pretty unhappy. And lazy. He’s a blunt guy in how he speaks. This antithesis part of the idea is fairly intriguing. I don’t know if I agree with him yet on that side of it, but I plan on doing some observation of people in the wild to see if it holds true.

I should’ve studied anthropology in college, but I always thought Margaret Mead was kind of a busybody. And those Trobriand Islanders? Don’t get me started.

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