Monday, May 10, 2010

67 Months

There are many moments when I look at my son and I see the young Wade from many moons ago. Lucas has many characteristics that I immediately recognize and not all of them are welcome. Some of those habits or idiosyncrasies can be infuriating and I'm not sure if it's because I was harshly weened off of them so long ago or they are just simply aggravating in and of themselves.

Lately, Lucas has found his inner groan. He's become a consummate moaner over every little thing that doesn't go his way. Doesn't like the food on his plate, mooooooaaaooooaooon. Asked to clean up his room, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeyyyyyeyyy. Told that he can't watch teevee, awwwwwwwwwwwwaaawwaaawwww. It's beginning to be his first response to just about everything and it's also beginning to drive me crazy.

But even though there are times when these whining attacks from my son brings out the bear in me, I have been trying desperately to address the issue in a such a way that our relationship doesn't become burdened by the terror of authority. We all understand what that means, whether it comes from a boss or the police or a gun. It stems from a fear of some loud and offensive force that tears us down deep within our hearts. If it develops at a young enough age, it has the possibility to hinder our growth throughout the rest of our lives and depending on what type of person we naturally are, this force has the ability to be stifling. So this is what I think about when I see my own fears playing out within the life of my son.

How do we change an oppressive environment into a nurturing one? How do we encourage those who have the tendency to shrink away from confrontation, even when it is righteous to stand up and use your voice in a confident and defiant manner? How do we connect to the heart of another so that they may find warmth and comfort in our voice, even when they are driving us crazy with their behavior?

Is it normal for a parent to worry so much about the way that he affects his children? I don't want to push my authority upon them with an invasive hand but I also don't want them to disregard me as a weak voice in their lives, one without conviction or standards. Finding this middle ground to trod upon is one of the great balancing acts a parent must learn to accommodate with their lives. Even though I'm not exactly sure how to make it work (or I would have written a book on the subject by now and made millions of dollars) but I really, really, really want to figure it out.

Lucas has a unique ability to listen with a keen ear. He doesn't always exorcise this natural gift but it is definitely present (just ask his kindergarten teacher, she loves him). This is the part of him that I need to connect with and learn how to use my voice in such a way that he truly hears the message I wish to give. He's ready and willing to embrace us but I don't think we will ever be able to communicate with him in a harsh voice. In fact, I know from past experiences that we will only cause him to shrink down within himself until he finds a cozy dark spot inside that doesn't feel threatening, but also doesn't help him grow at all. I've seen it in his clear face, with unsure eyes and trepidation quivering around his mouth, when I shout and stamp about like a mad bull. I remember my heart growing small and pitiful having to deal with such an animal and it took me a long time struggling through more small and pitiful actions to get to the point where I thought of myself as a fully realized human being again. No matter what happens to me with each passing day and to what extent my own life develops, I pledge to do whatever I can to make sure that my son doesn't have to go through such an ordeal.

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