June 2011

I could be wasting my time writing this column. It’s Friday, May 20, the day before the end, according to some people. Perhaps you’ve heard of this. Some have calculated that the Bible predicts May 21 as the end-all, be-all for human existence.

But there is one important stipulation. Apparently May 21 is not “The End;” it’s only the beginning of the end — October 21 is when the world officially will go kaput. Based on what I’ve read, May 21 is when some people will be leaving the earth early, which is why I’m writing this column anyway. There’s no chance of me getting a first-class ticket to the afterlife (way too many curse words over the years, among other things). Of course, by the time you read this, we’ll know, one way or the other whether this was true or not. But that’s not stopping some people from trying to profit from this. True story: I’ve heard some guy is charging people $100 to dog and cat sit, and he’s actually getting customers! Good Lord.

Jokes and profiteering aside, my wife and I actually have had to discuss this with our nine-year-old daughter, which has heard some kids at her school talk about this (some seriously discussing this, I think.) There’s enough for a little kid to be afraid of — heck, there’s enough for me to be nervous about as well — and we sensed some apprehension from her. But we discovered a teachable moment while trying to put this in context for her. Maybe believing that the world will end tomorrow has some use because the physical world will end for each of us someday.

Now, there’s a very delicate psychological balancing act here. You can’t live your life in fear, worried about what’s around every next corner. But maybe we can calmly and rationally live with the reality that tomorrow is never promised and that today, right now, we know is what we’ve got. How would we treat our family? How would we handle problems at work? How would we handle the guy cutting us off on the road?

Yeah, I know, heavy stuff that probably should be reserved for another type of magazine. But when you read this month’s Profile, you’ll see why I ventured into this subject matter.

Hope to talk to you next month. P

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