I get up early, so I learned early on Saturday that Paul Ryan was going to be running for Vice President in this year’s election. The news programs were filled with information about Paul Ryan and his abilities. When Jim woke up and sat down sleepily in the chair next to mine, I told him that I knew what he was going to write about on Monday – and he did. He called that essay, “The faith of Paul Ryan.”I watched those Saturday morning programs with great interest. But they were sorely lacking in the information I was interested in. I wanted to know a little more about Paul Ryan’s wife. I think you can tell a lot about a man by getting to know who he chose to spend his life with. They brought Janna and the kids up for the normal photo ops – and I have to admit, they look like a nice family. But I still didn’t learn very much about her that morning, beyond her resume. Janna Ryan is a tax attorney and has an impressive set of degrees from Wellesley College and George Washington University. She is from Oklahoma and is said to have “mid-western values.” She, like her husband, is Catholic and her family has a great reputation in their community. All of those facts were interesting – but I still wanted to learn more, so I googled. How did we live before search engines?!?!? To sum it up…I liked her and I wish we could have lunch. I think she is going to be too busy, however, to eat salad with me. So, I’m writing a blog post to let you all in on what I would love to talk with Janna Ryan about. Who knows, maybe one of you will know how to forward it to her! First, I would love to ask her what it felt like to earn a prestigious law degree, work at Price Waterhouse Coopers in Arlington, Virginia, and then become a stay at home mom. She gave up more than most, to enter a career marked by peanut butter sandwiches, constant activity and no paycheck. I used to have an apron emblazoned with the words, “And I spent four years in college for this?” I would like to know why, after two academic degrees, she chose to stay home with her kids – and I’d love to hear why she would say, “It was worth it.” I get in trouble on this topic. I know Janna Ryan had a big trust fund and I know there are a lot of women who need to work, especially in today’s economy. But, I think “quality time” can most often be defined as “having the time” when your children need you. I think being a “stay at home parent” is the hardest, greatest job in the world – and everybody who makes that choice, makes a sacrifice to do so. I’d like to hear Janna’s thoughts on that subject.
Second, I would like to tell her that I will be praying for her family. I can’t imagine stepping into the political arena. It reminds me of the arenas in ancient Rome…complete with the roaring lions and blood loss. I like the way the media has respected the Obamas’ girls and their right to privacy and family time. I hope they will do the same for all the children involved in this election. The kids should be protected, and that includes not having to listen to those awful television ads that make it sound like their parents are criminals. I’m sure Chelsea Clinton and the Bush’s daughters would “amen” that!
Third, I would like to tell Janna that she is allowed to be herself. One article I read mentioned that Janna had attended a luncheon a while back, and had proudly displayed the new sandals she had just bought…at the Goodwill for $2.00. I only have one thing to say about that….WAY TO GO JANNA!!! I’m known for being frugal – unless I’m known for being cheap. That is how I was able to be a “stay at home mom” and I just can’t seem to shake the habit! I have loved all the talk about Kate Middleton and the fact she chooses to wear some “off the rack” clothing – more than once!! WAY TO GO KATE!!! I hope Janna will continue to wear what she wants to wear, and be the normal person she wants to be. And I hope this country will honor her right to do so.
This blog isn’t about politics – it is about people. I would love to tell Janna Ryan that her kids are adorable – her husband seems to be a fine man – and that I will pray for her to have the wisdom she will need for the days ahead. Instead, I will ask you to pray for all the people who step into our political arena. “Satan is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Let’s all be careful we aren’t in the crowd, cheering the blood loss. “And they will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).” Lord, help us to love. There is a greater “election” campaign to consider.