Manifesto

Frank Abbott Photography, 2017 www.frankabbott.com

When I first joined The Facebook in 2008, for some reason I was under the impression back then that I needed to lay out a schematic for my entire moral belief system in the BIO section. It was revised over the years, quite a few times actually, as I grew angrier about the stresses of my career, or if I found enlightenment related to some deeply personal revelation, and certainly after I got a divorce. I poured my soul into writing it, I remember that much for sure, and at that time I think I catered it to people who might know me through teaching in the school system. In the years since I wrote it, I’ve mercifully found other outlets for my vent-writing besides Facebook. This blog is one such place. Yet recently, someone messaged me with kind compliments about my old manifesto, and to be honest, I’d forgotten about it. I jumped back over there and found it once again, revisiting my 2008-2011 self, amazed at how much I absolutely have not changed in all that time (although my life has actually changed quite a bit). It’s baffling to see oneself evolve in so many ways and yet still not look so very different in the mind, even after a whole decade has passed. So here it is for posterity, the inside parts of my brain that are apparently timeless, quintessential and entirely DQ.

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I absolutely love being a teacher, but it gets harder every year to do that job well. Teachers should be treated like gods, instead they are treated like slaves. I do the best job I can for my students every day, but there are way too many PC rules to follow and way too much bureaucratic nonsense going on.

There are a lot of bad parents out there… and some whose kids turn out great anyway. Then there are also some really good parents who just have bad kids. It happens. The biggest problem in education today is parents. Let your kids grow up and, sometimes, you need to let them fail. It’s good for young people to learn that very few things in real life actually go their way. And please, raise them so that they do not make other people’s lives miserable.

Being a mom to Ben Quarles is what gives me the strength and a reason to get up every day. He is not perfect, but he is so very extraordinary and special. At my house, when a teacher calls me about him, he is guilty until proven innocent. He is responsible for his own grades and I refuse to do his work for him or make excuses for him or bother his teachers about it when he doesn’t. I have already passed the 8th grade. Now it’s his turn.

Kiss your kid every day…hugs aren’t good enough. Tell them you love them multiple times a day. Hold their hand in the car if they will let you. They probably will if you try.

There is no quality more important to me in another person than loyalty.

Children need and deserve to know that their parents love each other. It makes a big difference in their happiness. I never forget that I am teaching Ben how to be a husband. I intend to make him do lots of laundry and to learn how to make an awesome cup of coffee. He is super at both.

I love my son most of all, he is amazing and beautiful and wonderful. I love my family, they are more than I deserve. I love my faith, it has carried me through some rough water. I love my job at Pace High School, although there are days when I wish I had married well.

I am thankful to be able to work with the other teachers at Pace. Most are the best and brightest in the field of education. Others need to be working at McDonalds and everyone knows who you are. Sadly, bad teachers are no big deal these days. Parents don’t mind them, and administrators reward them. The good ones are still going to be around though, because some were called to this work. Seek them out and tell them thank you, because they are worn slap out.

I am always afraid that people take me the wrong way. There are *tons* of people who fall into this category. I would never, ever intentionally hurt someone’s feelings. If I have offended you in some way, there’s a good chance you don’t get me. If you don’t tell me I’ve hurt you, how do you expect me to know? Get your stuff out in the open. Grudges aren’t healthy.

Botox is worth every penny. Plastic surgery is awesome. Cigarettes are disgusting. I’ve done almost everything on my bucket list. Almost.

I wish I could sing and own a flower shop. I hate illegal aliens being allowed to live on in this country indefinitely and I do not care what they do for the economy. Everyone should follow the law. I love Jesus, so you can relax. Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and Anthem are all classic novels written in the 1950s that are coming true right now. Read these if you haven’t already.

There is a very clear line between friendship and loyalty. I don’t care if I have your friendship, I want your loyalty. A loyal friend does what’s right, not what’s popular or easy. I have wonderful, loyal friends and I love them very much. You know who you are.

If I let you in my life, that means I think you are a quality human being in every way. I will be the best friend I know how for you. If you betray me, I will amputate you from my life forever. Don’t believe me? Just ask. There are lots of examples.

There are many kinds of people I do not like. As a result, there are many people I do not like. You may or may not know who you are but it is irrelevant. My circle is small, and I like it that way.

It is not easy being my friend. Some people aren’t cut out for it, because it often requires you to defend me in public. Others, hopefully, think it’s a pretty good gig and don’t mind doing this. I certainly try to make it worthwhile, and I certainly will defend my friends no matter who is watching.

Politics is not personal. I can completely disagree with you and still like you as a person. Please give me the same consideration. I have been a registered Republican since 1992. That doesn’t mean I don’t extremely dislike the Republican Party. I do. They are a bunch of clowns. But we have two terrible choices. I love my country no matter who’s running it.

I constantly evaluate my own actions, trying to see if I might have handled things differently. Usually I believe I could have. Sometimes, though, I have meant exactly what I said. Please see the above paragraph on defending me in public.

I intend to raise a very Good Man. I will do this in spite of how many obstacles there are and how few Good Men are out there to serve as models. Ben has lost his dad, but he has been blessed to have men in his life who have stepped up to fill that hole. These kinds of men are rare and I cannot place a value on how much they mean to us. The ones that are here, the ones that always find time for Ben, well there is nothing I can do to ever repay their kindness to our family. Their influence assures me that Ben will grow up to be kind and respectable to women, a servant to his country, responsible to his Maker, and a blessing to his family. When I let him go one day, I will give these men all the credit, and I know Ben will make us all proud. Raising him is the most important job I have. Someday, some special lucky woman will thank me. For now, he is just passing through my life and I intend to make sure I make the most of every moment I have with him. I wish more single parents saw things the way I did instead of ….well, you know what people usually do.

Let your dogs live inside with you, it makes your life better. Don’t yell at them. Don’t chase them. They are the only ones who think you can do no wrong.

A real, lifelong best friend is rare. If you have one, protect that relationship in every way. Friends serve different purposes in my life now, and I am thankful that I have such wonderful, genuine, loyal women to lean on. My girlfriends are among the greatest blessings I have in my life. These people are the only people, in the world, whose opinions of me matter to me…at all.

Words hurt, use them carefully. It takes just a second to ruin trust that it took years to build. Tell the people you love that you love them…You may never get the chance again. Do nice things for the people who are good to you. Don’t make time for things that don’t really matter at the cost of things that do.

Death brings an end, but it doesn’t necessarily bring closure. Sometimes it brings peace, though. And thankfully, time does heal all wounds, although not completely.

I am starting to finally believe that everything that has happened has a divine purpose and that those experiences have shaped everything since. It is nice to be able to stop waiting for the bottom to fall out all the time.

Tomorrow, when you wake up, your whole world could be turned upside down. Every second of every minute has the potential to change everything you think you know about your life.

Accept people for who they are. You can’t change anyone. Every person is capable of hurting another person. If you trust anyone 100%, you are a fool. If you find somebody who truly loves you and puts you first, hang on to them no matter what. Don’t ever give up on someone you have made a commitment to, unless in doing so you are giving up on yourself. Staying in love is hard, I think it’s the hardest job there is in the world. Pick someone who is good to you…really, really good to you.

Accept that some people don’t want to know the truth, and that sometimes your side of the story will never be heard. The people that matter, the ones who love you, they know the truth.

Love and pain change you…sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but never stop hoping for happiness. You can love someone unconditionally if you put your mind to it. It’s good to be commited to someone or something simply for their sake. Praying works, and even if it doesn’t seem like it does, keep praying that one day it will work. You never know when you might get completely swept off your feet. Wait for it and believe in it.

I know these things are true because I have lived every single one of them.

About Dawn Quarles

Dawn Quarles is a high school political science and American history teacher who moonlights as a blogger and writer. She lives on Pensacola Beach, Florida.

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