A writer I admire had a good post: http://www.raisingmyboychick.com/2015/09/on_dependence/
Yesterday I was talking to a friend about home schooling our children, a topic that comes up a lot at this stage of our lives. We were talking about how to help kids develop these specific physical skills and we were brainstorming approaches.
I remember, when I was a little girl, I used to go to my mother and cry and say, “But I’m not good at doing anything but reading. I’m so useless.”
My mama would tell me, “You aren’t useless. Maybe you don’t know for sure what you are good at yet but give yourself a few years. You aren’t dead yet.”
That’s an intensely positive memory of my mother and I’m grateful I have it.
At some point in the past few years I recognized my talent: I can teach. On one hand it doesn’t seem like a big deal. On the other hand… I’ve been teaching for a while and I recognize how few people really have it as a talent.
I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to be self aware.
I am incredibly good at seeing that someone has trouble doing ______ and helping them figure out how to do it. Not doing it for them but helping them brainstorm how to do the task. I’m good at showing people ways their bodies can move to accomplish things they didn’t know they could do. I coach people well.
I can do it with physical skills–even skills I’m not that great at. I can look at what a person is doing now, ask some questions about where they want to be, and help them bridge the gap. “Oh, you don’t see that you have to also move this finger over here like that in order to get it. Yup you nailed it!”
I am good at seeing the potential people have. That’s a real skill and not one everyone has.
Sometimes I don’t even realize how many skills I possess and how much stuff I know until I realize that someone else doesn’t know it yet and I can teach it. I am an accomplished, experienced person. I’m not a single subject expert at much of anything–my standards for “expert” are too high. But I’m acceptably good at a ridiculous range of skills.
Thank you, mama. You told me I’d figure something out and you were right. Thank you.
I am not always the best person to execute a plan of improvement. Sometimes I have to delegate to someone who has more steadiness for long-term execution.
A few weeks ago someone online said there are three kinds of leaders: visionaries, sustainers, and builders.
That really touched my heart. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
I’m not a sustainer and it breaks my heart. I want to be. I wish I was. I’m not. My Auntie was a sustainer and I have admired her and loved her my whole life, I can’t be like her.
I’m somewhere between a visionary and a builder. I’m not someone who feels strongly motivated to put a lot of physical energy into building things for other people. I’m a selfish bastard. I’ll build in my house and in my yard.
Which leaves me with visionary. I’d better start writing more.
I have some ideas for books. That’s pretty exciting for me. I should start making notes. I’m actually fleshing out a solid outline for a speculative fiction book in my head.
That’s kind of a departure from my normal…
I have no desire to work for policy change. I know that is the route to real difference in the future but I don’t have it to give. I get so agitated and angry and upset. I can’t sit in the room and be calm like that. But maybe I could give the people who do have such energy a few ideas? It’s worth trying anyway.
Never doubt that you can influence people. All you have to do is talk and talk and talk and then act in front of them. For better or worse you will influence them.
Seeing Frida Kahlo’s work in Washington DC motivated me in a profound way. I’ve had men flat tell me that women don’t do anything worth paying attention to.
Maybe for you. I disagree. Many women have done things I want to pay attention to. Let me cut you off instead.
I honestly believe that at this stage my primary duty as a home schooling parent is to teach my children self regulation. That means teaching them to be aware of their bodies and their emotions and figuring out how to manage them. It is hard. I learned most of these skills as an adult, I didn’t know how to regulate myself when I was a child and that fact complicated my whole life.
My children will never have such difficulties. They will be privileged to always have an awareness of themselves.
It can be taught from childhood, this privilege. I recognize it in healthy families and I try to emulate it. I see parents I respect talking to their kids about, “Well sweetie lets talk about what you ate today and lets see if we can figure out why your belly hurts.”
Don’t block them from having experiences. Stand there with them and help them interpret the experiences. Yes, that’s what we’re doing here!
If you do something for your child to make it “easier” for them you aren’t actually helping them. You are handicapping them. All children need to have the experience of struggling through difficulty towards mastery. This is how they learn to walk. This is how they learn to speak Hindi. This is how they learn to throw a ball. If someone helps you by doing it for you… you can’t learn.
Watching your children struggle isn’t always fun, but I’m finding it very validating and rewarding.
Oh. That’s why things were so hard for me as a kid. Because I was a kid. Oh. Ha.