Outside vs. Inside

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The opposite of love is not hate, it’s fear.
Each day, you choose between love and fear.

One morning, Day 6 of our Walkout, one of my teenage daughters told me she was going out to breakfast with her boyfriend. She’d been out a lot that week: There were pre-prom activities, “The Prom,” and then post-prom outings.

As a recovering Tiger Mom, I’ve bitten my tongue when I want to ask about tell her to do her schoolwork. I’ve backed off (been over a year now), because I wanted to go from Tiger (ferocious and unforgiving) to Owl (wise and patient).

Since my own transformation, her grades have improved dramatically (4.1 GPA), she’s obtained her driving permit license, played violin at All-State and she’s noticeably happier.

But that morning, I voiced concern about her responsibilities.  Inwardly, I judged her social calendar. She’s going out too much. She’s not working hard enough. How will she get a college scholarship?

Do you hear the fear?

Her smiling face turned dark. “I’m communicating to you my plans. Why do you want to pick a fight?”

And I answered confessed, “I am struggling inwardly. I know I should not say this. You know what? I trust that you know what you need to do and that you will do it.” Ah! Good catch!

And we were fine.

I chose love over fear.

People (who are “people” anyway?) might argue: “You are her parent. It’s your job to get on her about her responsibilities.  You can’t let her run all over you like that.” But she’s not running all over me. She’s living her life. She is her own person and she knows what she’s doing. She’s not putting herself in danger. She’s not putting others in danger.  I would say (and do) something if that was the case.

Too many Tiger Parents make the same mistakes over and over again. They communicate to their children that the outside is more important than the inside: grades, colleges and achievements are more important than knowing who you really are…more important than having fun with friends and learning how to navigate social waters.  I’ve had several 5th and 6th grade students cry and tell me that they are receiving oppressive pressure at home.

Thus,  I continue to choose love over fear. It’s challenging at times. Fear can look like caring, or “good parenting” or “discipline.” But it doesn’t feel quite right. Love always feels true.

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

Legacy

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Parakeet – Daily Painting Challenge (Animals, Day 5)

Sitting with my daughter “Bunny” by the pool

we talk about Kate Spade’s suicide and sadness we’ve never known

Bunny’s hair is fanned all over the pool deck, her clear eyes to the sky

Spade wrote a letter to her 13-year-old daughter

telling her it wasn’t her fault

my words ride the waves of the pool and get sucked into the filter

Looking at Bunny, the note seems an especially cruel gesture

In the distance, we can hear a woodpecker on aluminum siding

Feels Like…

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My teenage daughter and I had a conversation about her anxiety and panic disorders. She described it like this:

“It’s like wearing wet jeans to school. It’s really uncomfortable and smells bad and you want to take them off, but you can’t just whenever you want. You can’t take them off while you’re at school.”

Listening patiently and doing your best to understand are the first steps to alleviating the stress and anxiety of our loved ones.

Open

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I was inspired by the spring cacti in my yard.

So I began to paint…

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16-year old daughter: Whatcha painting?

Me: A really stinky cactus.

D: Oh yeah? What’s it smell like?

Me: Garbage and butt.

D: It looks like a monster on Monsters, Inc.

Me: (laughing hysterically)

D: Draw some arms and legs on it. Call it, “Open to Interpretation.”

 

Isn’t everything?

Practice Daily

 

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In art, one must be mindful of space: the space between images.

In a few of these, I was afraid of too much space and added graphics. The result was a non-uniform crowding of images, which is not pleasing to the eye.

 

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In relationships, space is even more critical. “Caring” and “parenting” are not about invading space, but respecting our teenagers as their own people. Crowding and controlling them is not pleasing to them!

This is the exact opposite of how I was raised.

But I can choose to question that thinking and do better.