Posted by: Marie | December 18, 2013

(900) More than just a job – Part 2 of 3

Post #900
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, July 26, 2012 – continued from previous post]

Our conversation shifted a bit and I mentioned to Jeff that I am very impressed with the parenting skills of James and his wife, Cindy . . .

I told him that they have one daughter and that she seems to be a psychologically healthy little girl . . . I’ve noticed how emotionally available both parents are for her and I’m especially impressed and pleased that James is available to her in that way . . . because, you know, he’s the dad and I’m not used to seeing dads be emotionally available for their daughters . . .

I’ve noticed that both parents make an strong effort to treat her like she matters and is very special . . . they create lots of light-hearted family time and they make sure to do fun things with her one-on-one . . .

I told Jeff about the time Sara left her stuffed animal here at the studio and how, after I found it, James came right over to get it because it was so special to Sara. I told Jeff that I had to think about that for quite a while afterward to sort through my thoughts and feelings about whether it would have been to her advantage (or not) to have to suffer the consequences of being careless with her toy . . . at least until her next lesson . . .

I wondered if she would become entitled or “spoiled” if her parents cleaned up her messes in that way . . .

(242)

Photo by Martin Chen

I told Jeff that I concluded that teaching a child life lessons does not necessarily need to involve inflicting the most pain possible . . . that there can be a tempering of the pain without it diluting the effectiveness of the lesson . . . which is different from what my dad believed . . . my dad believed the most effective way to teach a lesson was to allow the child to suffer the full natural consequences . . . and if the natural consequences weren’t painful enough, he believed in heaping on a bit more pain to aid the learning process . . .

It is true that the way my dad parented helped me to quickly learn the price of making poor choices . . . but it also taught me that I was not worth the bother of being protected by those in charge of my care . . . that my parents were the source of pain rather than of comfort . . . and those are not healthy messages for a child to internalize.

And, since Sara does not have an attitude of entitlement . . . since she knows how to work hard towards achieving a goal . . . it seems to me that the way James and Cindy are teaching her responsibility is working well . . . they are obviously doing something well.

I said to Jeff that I had asked James and Cindy where they learned to parent with such wisdom. Cindy told me that they knew from the get-go their marriage was at high risk because both of them are in the emergency services industry . . . based on statistics, their marriage basically has no chance of surviving. So, they put a lot of effort into making their marriage, and their family, as strong as possible . . . right from the start, they took classes, got therapy, read books . . . anything to better their chances and to create a healthier family.

They’ve been together for more than 20 years, and it appears to me that their marriage is one of the strongest ones I’ve seen, so apparently they’re doing something right in their marriage . . . and in their parenting. I’m impressed with them as people and as a family . . .

Jeff responded to all of that by saying that he would be interested in talking to James about being a dad . . . maybe James could pass along a few golden nuggets . . .

Jeff also stated that he, of course, wants to be the best dad he can be . . . he wants to not be as rough, cold and critical with his kids as his parents were to him . . . and mine were to me . . . he wants to be a firm parent but a kind and warm one . . . and he struggles to know where that line is.

He said that, most of all, he wants to provide to his daughter the sense that she is enough . . . which is something that was not provided to him . . . or to me . . .

Our conversation then meandered into the topic of learning styles . . . more specifically, Jeff’s learning style . . .

He told me that he is a reasonably smart guy and that he is used to being able to absorb and understand complex information quickly. However, he is finding music theory to be rather overwhelming . . . and he is easily triggered when he has to struggle to understand a concept because of how much pressure he felt as a kid to do more and to do better and to be better . . . how he was always trying to be enough to please his dad . . .

He went on to explain that once he gets triggered, his brain sort of freezes up, which makes it that much harder to learn . . . and that is what often happens in his piano lesson when I’m working with him on theory . . . and it happened in his lesson today . . .

I assured him that I understood that because I often experience something similar to that when I’m in a therapy session and Edward is trying to help me understand what is behind my thoughts or fears . . . I feel pressure to “know the answer” and “figure it all out”, which causes me to have an even harder time with allowing myself to experience and understand what is going on inside of myself . . . it is because my dad applied similar pressure on me . . . so, I do understand that panicked feeling of not being prepared enough, not being smart enough or performing well enough . . .

I asked him what I can do to support him when that happens to him in a lesson . . . he said there really is nothing I can do except to just be aware it is happening and to understand why it might be taking him a bit longer than expected to wrap his brain around a concept.

Well, that seems easy enough to do! And, I’m happy to do it!

In fact . . . I rather like the idea of passing along the compassion Edward has shown to me . . . it feels good to show that kindness to another human being . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 810


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: