Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Kids, My Heroes

"Mommy says I look just like Daddy!"  Damon and Matthew
Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese American artist, writer and philosopher, said it best.

Your children come through you but not from you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life does not go backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as arrows are sent forth.

Krishan Chopra, in his book "Your Life Is In Your Hands: The Path To Lasting Health And Happiness" (from which I also picked up the above quote), explains it this way.

According to the law of karma, a child is born to particular parents and a particular environment because his karma - the accumulated impressions of all his past actions and experiences - requires him to acquire certain physical and mental characteristics and have certain opportunities in this lifetime.  He does not get a good or bad environment because of his parents, but because his own karma places him in a situation in which he can, if he so desires, utilize his accumulated knowledge and abilities and add to them.

I like karma.  It places the responsibility for your life into your own hands.

Krishan is worth listening to.  Not only is his book a fantastic explanation of Hindu beliefs and values, he is obviously no slouch as a parent either.  His son, Deepak Chopra, seemed to turn out okay.

"Uh oh.  Mommy needs pictures for her blog again!"  Aidan and his sight words.

In essence, the concept of karma says that your children chose you as their parent for a reason.

I'm still trying to figure out what my kids are getting from ME, but I sure as heck am learning a lot from them.

This week the peer pressure on Ryan from the girls in her class got so strong that I finally spoke with the vice-principal.  Getting your bra snapped by anyone, even another girl, is bullying.  Although Ryan is no stranger to bullying - it was considered normal and routine in Germany - it was a welcome change to have help from an adult authority figure.  Guess what?  Not okay in Australia.  But even with help from the adults, this situation is not going to go away.  Ryan is not going to conform.  And the pressure - right now it is to join THE GROUP on a 3 day camping trip the school has planned in 5 weeks - is not going to go away.

And so Ryan has decided not to go camping. 

That kind of blew everyone away.

But why would she want to spend time with kids who are trying to control her and tell her what to do, who won't leave her alone, let her do her own thing and be her own person?

Ryan on Jack.  Now THAT's a big horse trying to buck my little girl off!

The adults are worried about her 'missing out' on a school experience. 

The kids will continue to pester her. 

And Ryan will continue to quietly walk away and do her own thing.
I have no idea how this confident, self -assured child came from needy, attention-seeking me. 

But I really couldn't be prouder.

She is so happy with her horses and her riding - this week she was the only one Jack didn't buck off in the field - and with her sketches and well, HERSELF - that she doesn't need the confirmation of others telling her that she is okay. 
Jack figures he might as well listen.

It would have made parenting her for the past few years a heck of a lot easier if she HAD wanted to please me.

From Ryan, I am learning to be my own person, to be less needy and more confident in myself.

Andrew is teaching me to be a better person as well.  And also to stick up for what I believe is right.  Maybe that's why I had to become a mother.  I doubt I would have stuck up for myself the way I will for my children.

This weekend Andrew was placed in goal for both halves, despite the deal we had with the coaches that he would play one half in the position he loves, in the field.   I wasn't there, it was Damon's turn out the door at 7 AM, but they were playing The Pythons, the strongest team in the league, and the pressure was on.  Losing 0-4 after the first half, even with Andrew in goal, the coach coerced Andrew into playing goal again in the second half, while Damon was away signing the volunteer register.

When Andrew protested the coach told him "You HAVE to stay in goal.  You need the practice."

Andrew was in tears, but he did what his coach asked of him.  And he did it well.
Andrew teaches his class about hip-hop.  (Mr. Biri on the right.  AND note the use of whiteboard and computers!  21st century in THIS continent's schools!)

Damon was furious.

I would have pulled Andrew off the field.

The coach isn't a bad person.  He just made a bad decision.  He chose points in a game over the joy of a 9 year old playing that game.  He broke his promise - and the rules of fairness and sportsmanship - in order to look better on a scoreboard.  And- although he doesn't know it yet - he's lost one of his most valuable players for next year.  Go and find yourself a goalie NOW!

What Andrew couldn't understand is how an adult could go back on his word.  But he played on anyway.  What a champ. 
How could I not, as a parent, step in and pull him from this kind of coaching?  He knows what's fair and he knows when he has been let down.  And now he knows he is worthy enough for his parents to stick up for him.

In goal.  But itching to get on the field and run.

I'm actually trying NOT to make waves the past few weeks.  The academic thing flew by with no issues.  The camp thing will have bigger repercussions since now other people are considering withdrawing their children as well.  But, for once, I am not doing any of this to make a statement or because something isn't right or because I can't have it my way.  I am simply doing what is best for MY kids given the present circumstances.  Am I going to change the peer pressure in Ryan's class?  No.  But I can help her not have to deal with it over a three day sleepover.  Do I want to have to struggle with Andrew's coach a second season?  No.  And so we change teams, and leave him to his decisions without trying to change them.

I copied a quote onto a sheet of paper once.  I'll have to credit the author - also of Indian descent I believe -when I find it again.  It goes like this.

You can't always change the circumstances.  But you can change your circumstances.

I was wise enough fifteen years ago to recognize that it should be written down.  But I had no idea what it meant until this week.

I don't have to change the world or fight for what is right in order to quietly make things right for ME, my kids, and our personal circumstances.  Things only change when you make choices for yourself, instead of worrying about making them for everyone else too.

My Brumbies making pizza.

Maybe that's what being a leader really means, not forcing everyone to follow you, but setting an example and allowing them to make their own decisions based on that example.

Ryan and Andrew have taught me to do things for us, for me, and for them.  Without worrying about what everyone else is going to do.  And being their mother - and seeing how strong they are - has made me strong enough to make those decisions.

How this crooked bow has sent out these straight arrows is beyond my compression. 

But I do strive to be more like them.  And am grateful that they chose me to be their mother.

1 comment:

  1. It's been a while since reading something has brought me to tears. Thanks, Christine. I'm glad you're writing and I'm glad you're the type of person who sees there is always more growing to be done. I can't wait to be a mom because of insights like this. Keep it up :)