When I first started staying home with my kids, I began reading the paper over breakfast. Every Monday Sharon Randall’s column makes me cry. Sometimes it is sad, or poignant or funny, I always cry. Once she asked readers to tell her about the books they loved and she compiled them into a list of 12 or so. I have been working my way through that list for several years now. The list includes things like Immokalee’s Fields of Hope and Memoirs of Hadrian , neither of which I can find as well as The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio , Life of Pi , and Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now , all of which I have enjoyed. Most recently I have been reading Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston. It is a book about things everyone should know, things most people learn the hard way.

It is an incredible book. What is rolling around in my mind is chapter 14, “True Love is the Apple of Eden”. In this chapter he discusses choosing a spouse. Many of the people in my generation have divorced parents. As kids where did we look to find an example of a good relationship? He reports that many people are cynical about the possibility of lasting love. Dr. Livingston’s solution? A class.  Allow me to quote:

“In the midst of such marginally relevant courses as trigonometry, industrial arts, and the ever-popular “health,” one searches in vain for a course in human personality and behavior that contains useful information on how to avoid catastrophic mistakes in one’s choice of friends and lovers. So, like most of life, the important task of choosing whom to fall in love with becomes another example of trial and error learning. If only the trials weren’t so costly.”

His curriculum for “The pursuit of happiness” would include “a discussion of the definition of love…guidance on the subject of personality disorders, [including] characteristics of those most likely to break one’s heart…attributes of a successful marriage partner, [a discussion of] kindness and empathy and how to recognize [them].” Guest lecturers would include “people going through bitter divorces as well as those in successful long term relationships.”

This should be offered in every high school in the country. Since it is not, I suggest those of you who work with youth in your church consider developing such a course.

Until next time you can find me Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart,