Friday, October 19, 2012

Bless your heart

Well, some hell has broken loose as can only happen when parents get overly invested in their children's lives.  I try not to comment specifically on what other people do, as they should be writing about it themselves in their own blogs, so this is more philosophical musing:)

What is wrong with us?  We fire off emails when a teacher or a coach or a play date goes awry and forget that the way to slog through conflict is face to face, with a cold beer as the pay-off after the blustering and threats have subsided.  We seem to forget that our kids have to lose and struggle and then make up with each other without our interference.  Helicopter parenting?  How about I'm-in-the-bunker-with-you-and-I-know-you-are-constantly-under-fire-so-I-stand-ready-to-take-a-bullet-for-you-at-any-second parenting.  Not healthy for you, your child, your marriage, or your community. 

I don't like bullies or injustice because it reminds me of all the times I have been both.  I am currently reminding myself to hold onto compassion because the folks I am aggravated with, I'm going to be standing in line with at the grocery store tomorrow.  We will be on the soccer field together and at dance recitals.  Your kid will date my kid and I will trust you to call me when someone I love has had too much to drink and needs a ride home.  We have got to pace ourselves here.  Truly.

So in the end, I'm writing this to remind myself to hang onto the rules of civility.  If I can't say something nice, I need to text my buds and have them delete it within 48 hours.  I need to ask myself what HH the Dalai Lama would have to say about all this and then picture him forgiving the Chinese the occupation of  his country for the last 50 years.  I need to hear my grandmother's voice who used to shake her head and say "Bless her heart" when folks crossed a line. 

Bless your heart.  Those are words to live by.

**special shout out to Tracie who fights the good fight for those who are struggling day in/day out.  Your compassion for those who need it is inspirational.  May you find peace this week. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Cadre

I have been working myself into a froth about the following in no particular order:  youth soccer and over zealous parents, wooden Swiss Qtips (the potential for ear splinters is always there) the relationship between Simon de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sarte, and the peeling paint on my house.  I am skipping frothdom for the Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren Senate race and the presidential race.  I'm also not too fired up about the Red Sox, the Texas Rangers or the Patriots.

I can make myself cry by thinking about the debt we are leaving our children and the realization that their lives are going to be harder than ours because of choices we have made.  The epitome of selfishness.  I just finished reading a great book called "Bringing up Bebe, One American Woman Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting."  It talks about the entire French culture supporting a few things, which they call the Cadre, or framework.  This led to an interesting discussion at one of my book clubs...which in all fairness was myself and Roving Reporter, who is actually not roving but getting her doctorate......and we picked the next two books...and I betcha people will come next time if they want to read anything but public policy or philosophy.......................about whether Americans have a framework as a culture.  The only things we could come up with, really, are the ideas of rugged individualism and bold exploration.  The French in this parenting book feel pretty strongly about babies sleeping on their own at a very early age, eating a variety of food at set times, and respecting others.

Since I have been frothing a bit, I decided to ponder my own personal Cadre, the one I am most likely passing on to my children.  It starts with the importance of family and honoring the elders in our tribe.  The second part of my Cadre has to be the idea that we are all doing the best we can with what we have.  When things get tough as hell, laugh long and hard as a first step, the absurdity of life is quite curative.  Put learning first and get back to school, classes, retreats, seminars as often as possible.  Find your spiritual center and feed it...with church or poetry or running or yoga.  So much of what we think matters, I have the sneaking suspicion does not.  I want to carry that awareness with me to the next contentious meeting I am in or pull it out when I am tempted to yell at my children about being late.  So what?  So what?  That might be a great cadre....I'm going to kick that one to the top and see what happens.

In the end, I try to remember that on the 28th day of the month, I froth transcendentally.

So what?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Surging Ahead

It started with the Ipad training at the beginning of the school year for all incoming 6th graders and their parents.  Parents needed to go to the training because.......our kids needed a ride.  It was a complicated scenario, with stations set up and a myriad of checklists.  It took me about 3 seconds to realize that I was just travelling through my son's brave new world and I was slowing him down:

ME: (warily eyeballing the first checklist)  OK, you need to clear.....
SON: (warily eyeballing me)  I've already done the first 5 things, you don't need to read those out loud
ME: OK, you want to make sure...
SON:  I've got it mom, can you put the list down so I can do this faster?
ME: (incredulously) You don't need me here to do this, do you?
SON (not wanting to hear birth story, again) No, but I want you here

Cut to Station # 2, and this really drills down to the essence of the computer generation vs my people:

SON:  OK, now we have a problem, it looks like my original email address is not going to work and I'm going to have to reconfigure the settings
ME: (waving my hand furiously)  We need tech support here, we have a problem!!!!!
SON:  (pushing my hand down)  Mom, let me try a few things on my own before you call in tech support.

Cut to last Wednesday when my husband surprised me with a Keurig coffee maker for our anniversary.  We had a dinner date, and left the coffee machine on the counter and the kids with our babysitter.

ME: (upon our return) Did you have a fun night?
DAUGHTER:  I love the new coffee maker, it makes great hot chocolate
ME:  Did Amy figure out how to use the machine?
DAUGHTER:  No, I goggled the directions on how to use it and figured it out myself.  It is pretty easy after the first time.

I know my kids are going to surge ahead of me, I just thought I had a bit more time.  I think we need to make a deal:  I will learn from their new, fired up neurons if they let me lend them some frontal lobe wisdom until they are 25.

It is a brave, new world.