Let me begin by stating an absolute fact: there is no perfect art to child-rearing. Anyone who tells you different has done you a great disservice because you are pursuing something non-existent.
There isn’t a blueprint or a formula. But let me not tell you about all the “not’s”.
I’ll tell you about my mother and I, and you can interpret however you choose.
When I walked into my moms room, threw myself on her bed and started chatting she asked me some stuff about the way she raised me. One question particularly stood out: “What did I do so right?”
This isn’t arrogance, she has been asked “What did you do?” by so many people over many years – as if the measure of who I am can be quantified by adding, dividing and subtracting to the square root of discovering perfection.
I don’t consider myself to be the perfect child, but should we delve into the basic prerequisites of a perfect archetypal modern child, there are a lot of blocks I get checked in on my profile.
After my mom asked me “What did I do so right?” I told her: “It wasn’t one thing. It was everything.” I surmised that the way she reared me was reactive to the polarizing opposite of how she was raised. I told her that who I am and how I came to be wasn’t entirely her doing, but that I had developed my knowledge, behavior etc. from years of observing and reacting in kind. I evolved myself using my personality to learn and adapt in any environment.
My mom gave me an incredible opportunity to imagine and be a child beyond the limitations of what reality would eventually restrict me to.
In meditating on my own childhood I came to an understanding of one the freedoms of childhood:
Children are brave.
As a baby my universe was what I could hear, see, taste and touch. Poets say that “there is nothing beyond the senses”, and so as a baby and into adolescence there was nothing sinister in the shadows beyond the darkness I understood in color. The comfort felt in my mothers arms meant unwavering safety and love in that moment, with no heady depth to it referencing the marks of meaningful life experience. When I was young I did not know I was breakable and weak, and therefore did not need to act strong. Because I did not know who I was in my adolescence, there was no need to don a mask and present a farce to the world for one reason or another. My world was a fortress and a universe – able to be manipulated but vast enough to be interesting and dangerous. Fear did not factor into my worlds because my mother was part of the thing that made every day so full of promise and joy.
Children just want to have fun, explore and get into trouble unwittingly whenever possible. Its adults who understand fear.
So to run amok in youthful grandeur is a gift I never took for granted. I savored my freedoms, and the rebellious rearing so far away from the stereotypes of my race.
Mom said that I used to climb on high things – cars and cupboards alike – and then scream in joy as I jumped into her arms. She said I was fearless because I knew beyond a doubt that my mommy would catch me. In every scenario as long as I live – I know my mommy will find a way to catch me.
It is probably why I can throw myself into so many unpredictable life-altering scenarios – but I have been working on weaning myself of my dependency on this safety net
…it takes time.
**I plan to write more sometime so stay tuned for a 2.0 post.