My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dream Interpretations and Reflections on Parenting

This whole parenting thing is tough because it engages your whole body, brain and soul. First, you endure a physically draining pregnancy, birth and delivery. Then, you have to physical transport this kid for months and years on end, then once you can put them down, you have to chase them non-stop, and so on. Brain-wise, not only do you need TONS more knowledge once you have a baby, but your brain often seems to shrink at that time. So much so, that the smallest tasks, like conjuring up the correct child's name to call down to dinner, is beyond your capability. And emotionally? Well, it's a roller coaster with your heart in the front car, screaming for dear life. Is anybody with me, here?

My four children are really wonderful, darling little human beings, and if left alone, they would perhaps be fine. I'm starting to wonder if I'M the one causing all the trouble. If I never made them comb their hair, take a bath, trim their nails, eat their veggies, go play outside, etc., they'd perhaps be happier and maybe go into adulthood with less baggage. But somehow, everytime I ask them to do something like the aforementioned basic hygeine chores, they act as if it's a personal affront to them. Am I being too critical? If I left them completely alone on these things and never corrected their bad manners, etc., but just loved them up, would that be enough? Perhaps they would be more self-confident risk-takers and then pick up those other skills when they decided they needed it (like if they ever wanted a DATE). So in the meantime, do I have a responsibility to raise children who other people will like? Would it be unkind if I divided my children, raised half of them one way and half the other as a study? I'm really interested to know.

I had a dream this week-end, and I might add that it came on the heels of my ED driving me nearly mad. My ED is really into theatre, and I dreamed that we had gone to an audition. I'd helped her rehearse her audition piece, the ever-sung, corny "Tomorrow" from Annie. When they called her name, we went on the stage. I began playing the piano, and she began to sing, but instead of singing the word "tomorrow" at the appropriate time, she sang "yesterday" which sounded completely ridiculous in light of the tenses and the extra syllable. So I was kind of freaking out at the piano, and I was totally convinced that she'd blown the audition. But guess what? They LOVED it, especially due to the original exchange of words in a tired song. So I woke up wondering if God's telling me to lay off and let her do it her way.

Let me hear from all you seasoned parents out there. What's your opinion?


Diane said...

Oh Donna I've often thought how much fun it would be to raise a child simply as an experiment - you know, like the plant-thing, when you give one plant plenty of light, water, good soil and care and the other you just let wither in a closet somewhere.

Unfortunately, I think people tend to call in the authorities when you do this with humans.

I don't think you can ever completely relax when you're a parent. Too easy to go all passive/aggressive which is bound to screw up everyone, including yourself and probably your marriage. They do need you to keep them on task and in their weird little way they're probably thanking you for it.

However, I love part of how you interpreted your dream. I don't think God wants you to "lay off" but the "let her do it her way" is beautiful. Yes, I know it's a fine line! And most of it is how YOU choose to interpret and see the situation. I read a great book once (I could give you the title if you're interested. Email me) about how everyone - but she was speaking to us, namely parents - gets to choose how to see a situation. You can walk into a room after a long day at work and see the clutter and the dirty dishes OR you can walk into the room and see that your kids are having a decent time together. Just a for instance. But you see? You already said your kids were beautiful and I know they are. You've done a great job so far and I give you permission to relax. A bit.

Donna Jones Koppelman said...

Wow, such good input from you, Diane. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. And thanks for the kind words.

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman