Pencil Marks on the Wall

A friend asked me a penetrating question when I was preparing to become a father.  She wrote a line about how parents once measured their children’s growth stages by penciling marks on a wall.  You remember that, don’t you?  Maybe from your upbringing.  Or from some television show. 

Then she asked me, how will you measure your progress?

What a clincher?  She wasn’t just talking about my progress as a dad, but as a person.  I’m still thinking about the question.  It’s the stuff I go and talk to my spiritual director about.  It’s the stuff I pray and write about.  It’s the content of my unwritten pages, measuring my progress.

I haven’t fully answered my mentor’s question, but I think measuring one’s progress happens with the help of others.  I will measure my progress, but I won’t do it alone.  Somebody else will help me.  Some bodies will.

I mentioned in my last post that my father in law is hospitalized.  He has a team of people–doctors, nurses, therapists, family, friends–looking at him daily.  They all are, in their own ways, measuring him.  Every movement has meaning.  Every gesture is significant. 

As I think about him and as I remember my mentor’s question, I’m reminded that 1) I want to progress and 2) I want to be able to see it, evaluate it, and measure it.

So, how would you answer that question?  How will you measure your progress?  How will you modify the pencil marks on the wall?  Emotional or physical or spiritual.  A goal or a task or an area in your life that’s important.  Pick a part of your life, a role you play, and answer that.  Comment about it.

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One thought on “Pencil Marks on the Wall

  1. Pingback: For Really New Dads « For Fathers

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