Skip to main content

Water-on-stone theory of parenting...

Now that I've vented my spleen in my last blog post, let me talk about something else that has been brewing away in the back of my mind for the past few days.

A few days ago I participated in a big reunion, on Facebook, of members from an attachment parenting site I used to frequent, um, frequently in the first decade of this century. It was a lot of fun to catch up on everyone's lives and see photos of the much bigger children I used to read about when they were babies.

Many of us have children who are now tweens or teens and I realised this might be a good opportunity to get some feedback on how parents are dealing with those non-baby issues that arise in parenting older children.

For me, the big issue was behaviour in one of my children I found unbecoming. Behaviour I wanted to change in my child because I felt it was too rough and pointy, like the edge of a rock. Behaviour I felt it was ugly and didn't fit the image I had of my child as a grown up, all smoothed out and polished and attractive (I'm not talking appearance, but personality or behaviour).

As I mulled this over with another parent, an idea emerged for me about the nature of parenting in the long term.

I think some parents - not all, but some - parents like me, have a baby and it's like discovering a diamond in rock. We see the rough rock, but we also see the jewel and we're amazed at our discovery.

The years pass and we work on diminishing our precious child's rough edges.

Some of us see a rough edge and we just want to knock it off, get rid of it, fix it - and quickly - because it is unappealing to us. So we use some force, we try to manipulate the rock, but if we're not careful, if we're too gung-ho about it, we find we create a new rough edge; we may even knock off some of the good stuff as well as the rough edge we initially intended to 'fix'.

So, we trundle along, trying to fix the mess we created when we were too forceful, too rash, too careless and in the meanwhile the diamond continues to emerge, it isn't quite what we'd hoped for because it has blemishes and scratches we created while trying to knock off those rough edges.


Another way to bring out the best qualities in a child and smooth out those rough edge is to parent like water on a rock*; gently and consistently flowing over our child with what we'd like them to develop. Modelling and whispering in their ears the qualities we admire, and allowing their natural beauty to emerge over time as the rough edges melt away.

This approach requires a lot of trust. It requires us to trust that if we gently but consistently influence out children with the behaviours and personality traits we want to bring out in them, without damaging their natural beauty, we will eventually see the jewel we saw in our child at birth - in all it's glorious beauty.

I realised I can't force my child to stop the ugly behaviours I perceive in him, I can only gently and consistently guide him towards the beauty I know he possesses (I know because I see glimpses of it all the time) and trust that my words of encourage will eventually allow the beauty to emerge when the roughness melts away.

*this is an imperfect metaphor regarding how diamonds are cleaned up and faceted, but the I couldn't come up with anything that fit perfectly - metaphors are rarely perfect.


Popular posts from this blog

The symbolism of elephants...

Just recently I've been seeing and noticing elephants everywhere!

A few weeks ago I saw the Samsung Elephant Ad, and watching that led me to watching a video with an elephant painting (seriously, you have to watch it to believe it!).

Then last night the boys told me they were having a free dress day at school to raise money for 'Mali the Elephant' - who turned out to be a paper maché statue which the children will paint and then show around the council before it comes back to the school to stand outside the performing arts room.

Then this morning I followed a link from Twitter to Toushka Lee's blog and read this post about an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka.

This morning the Grumpy Old Man did another driving test and unfortunately didn't pass. We've booked his next test and are looking forward to that now. About ten minutes before he walked in the door I saw this poster on Facebook...

At the time, I didn't know if the Grumpy Old Man had been successful or …

Alone... And Stuff...

Do you ever just need to be alone?

As the boys are growing up, we have more times when the house is quiet. The youngest will be asleep. One will be reading, one will be playing on his computer with headphones on, one will be painting and there is stillness.

Sometimes, even that is not enough.

Sometimes I crave being alone, with no possibility of someone suddenly realising they have to tell me something important or ask me a question or even just crash about in the kitchen.

Sometimes I crave S P A C E, lots and lots of space, being able to walk from room to room without encountering another soul.

This is how I felt when I woke up this morning, so instead of getting ready for work, I decided to stay home. Get up, but not go anywhere, no hear the sound of my own voice, or anyone else's.

I think this might just be part of getting older. After a lifetime of chasing after other people and trying not to be alone, my mind and body is full of thoughts, experiences, feelings, and busy-ness …

12 Things Happy People Do Differently - a self-reflection...

A few days ago a Facebook friend posted the above poster on her wall. I believe she got these points from this blog which she enjoys reading, and the bloggers on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog derived their discussion of these points from this book, available on Amazon - you're welcome! I have to admit, I haven't read the blog or the book I've just mentioned but wanted my readers to have access to the sources of the poster for their own reflective purposes.
The New Year will be upon us in but a few days and I thought this a great opportunity to do a little personal assessment on how I'm playing the happy game. I'm often not very happy at all - I don't need to be happy all the time, let me just say that up front - I personally believe that life is a balancing act and those who seek euphoria often will also often feel desolation because in all things there must be balance. The great riches of the few on this planet come at the personal cost of the many as is …