Paradise and Parenting

By Leza Warkentin

The Sick Day

There’s a good reason why most major religions warn against vanity or pride, because they both really do go before a fall. In other words, if you keep boasting about something, it will come back to take a big bite out of your ego.
For the last few years I’ve enjoyed making a Big Deal out of my strong immune system. I have worked with young children my entire adult life. Little children are really quite fantastic at spreading contagious illnesses and tend to see their teachers as human Kleenex. I spent the first few years of my career making plans for a substitute while I slogged through the human misery that is flu season. Then, once I moved to Mexico, Montezuma took his revenge on my poor guera digestive system on and off for a couple of years.
After that, I was titanium, yo. I visualized my immune system as a giant, scar-riddled bad boy, smacking an iron pipe against its palm and watching the germs scurry away like college kids at the Wrong Bar.
However, for some reason, this school year has begun differently. In September I had some sort of evil virus that had me clutching my head in an attempt to keep it from blowing up into the four corners of the room so as not to alarm the children. Exactly three weeks later I am typing this article, stopping every 14 seconds to cough into my elbow (as most polite Canadians will do) and wonder why my eyeballs haven’t popped out yet.
Parents, do you remember what it was like to be sick before you had children? You pretended to be really upset that you couldn’t make it in to work, but secretly you couldn’t wait to get The Sick Call over with so you could whip out the remote, set up the pillows, send out your partner for ice cream, and watch daytime TV for the next 10 hours. When else could you catch The Today Show, Oprah and maybe some Seinfeld re-runs (and, admit it, probably a peek at Jenny Jones and maybe even Jerry Springer if you had a fever).
Since becoming a parent, being sick means that everyone still needs you to do the same stuff you normally do, but with a sick pail in your hand. Admittedly, my husband is my angel of mercy during these days. He cooks, he cleans, he helps with homework, and he gives the children lunch money. But still, only I know where the swimming goggles are and that it’s Dress as Your Favorite Book Character at school tomorrow. And I also seem to be the only one who knows that they don’t need 100 pesos each for lunch. On a typical sick day I will be hanging out on the bed, trying to go back to sleep after a night of feverish snake dreams, when one will escape the Daddy Net and come up to announce (in a tone of grievous offence) “Daddy doesn’t KNOW that I have P.E. on Thursdays and he is TRYING to make me wear the BEIGE UNIFORM.” I drag myself up to deal with this life-threatening situation and end up cutting the crusts off the toast and digging out the tennis shoes from under the couch.
I figure it’s a small price to pay for the Joy of Parenthood on most other days (I think that’s what I supposed to say here, anyway), but do send some good wishes to my beleaguered immune system, who needs to get back to the beach and start kicking sand on the viral 97-pound-weakling. And I need to brag about it.


  1. I have to admit that I am somewhat confused by your article Leza, that began with vanity (worthlessness) and pride (arrogance) , and ended with a beleaguered immune system, and a 97 pound weakling, when it should have been about “Self Motivation for Lifetime Learning”.

    In church I was schooled that sickness was not real but temporal (Mind) , and my body was my Temple. Our immune system when the body was provided for and protected, could resist sickness. Thus the success of pleciboe’s (? sp) ability to cure.

    Consequently I could work 12 hour days six and seven days a week for years without taking even one hour off sick. Even spent some three weeks vacation with my wife for over 30 years in Puerto Vallarta without either of us getting Montezuma’s revenge. Same with my three daughters during their K-12 school years, who seldom if ever got sick.

    You are basically who you think you are … the key here is “self worth”. Since the Gods of the Christian Bible tell us that ” We are all Gods”, I have always set my goals at the top, and I am known for a successful life and career. The big bite out of my ego is the taxes I pay, for my success, from being the best in everything I do.

    In Stephen Hawkin’s science book ” A Brief History of Time” , he wrote that he was told in Harvard by classmates “If you have to study to pass, you are no good!”

  2. Beleaguered immune system or not, you are still one of the most creative, imaginative, compassionate, understanding teachers that I know, next to your father, of course. Not only that, but you have his sense of humor as well. I know how seriously you take your commitment to your students and their welfare, and I have seen you remain cheerful and engaged with your students while suffering from severe allergies. I will pray that our God (singular) of the Bible will heal and strengthen you, because He did not say, as some suppose, that we are gods, but we are His children if we walk in faith, and He is with us always, even in our distress. Thank you for the usual witty discourse. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. Mr. Norton…I may not be too bright, but your comments are really hard to follow in a rational manner. In plain English, what are you trying to say?

    1. Dear I.m.menno, and Betty W.,

      I cannot defend or debate the reason why the ancient texts relate to the 12 main gods of old, and the many demi-gods. Or why when King James rewrote the Geneva Bible in 1611, he missed removing one of the words of reference to Gods, along with removing all the references to reincarnation, that 78 percent of the U.S. believe in. But logic would tell me if we are all Gods children, we should be perfect , and without sickness. I can account for only some dozens, of the 15,000 names for God. And those dozen names relate to the fallen angels.

      One has to wonder just why, if science is correct that our genome goes back some 200,000 years, without doctors, hospitals and modern medicine, how our ancestors manage to survive for us to be here today. There are some people that live in high mountainous lands, that live long lives without sickness, just as there are all the species of animals, fish, and birds that are healthy today in the wild, who’s species goes back hundreds of millions of years.

      Teaching and providing examples to our children , are what parents are suppose to do. Good teachers, successful teachers, are those who provide good examples to their students. I have been a successful Tennis Professional who has taught and mentored tennis professionals. I have taught in the San Francisco and Oakland public schools to Middle School (Junior High) and High School students. I attained the position as the Senior Electrical Engineer for Quality Assurance for an International Energy Supply Company, where one of my responsibilities was to mentor their Professional Engineers.

      I was even asked to become a teacher, as an adult, in my church, that I only attended as a pre-teenager. The Church was Christian Scientist Ninth Church. There was where I learned that God is in all of us as love , truth, and without sickness, since sickness and matter are only temporal , and not real – and is just a manifestation of energy, as I also learned in the lectures given by U.C. Berkeley in atomic and nuclear physics.

      I am sure that Leza Warkentin is a good teacher, an excellent teacher, and loved by the students , parents and faculty . The highlight as a teacher and mentor , is when another teacher , student or person being mentored, asks you … “Are you a genius ?”

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