December 12, 2013

Pace versus Peace: On reclaiming parental instinct

Maybe after all, change really is simply one tiny step in a moment of opportunity. The many failures where my feet stay planted where they are for whatever reason, or the moments when I backtrack or sidestep...those instances are just that -- instances, and they have no bearing on the heart of the matter: progress.

Instances of 'Ailina's failures are features of pace: since when has pace been a concern of mine, the weakest of the weak? Pace became a sucking black hole, swallowing up inspiration, motivation, optimism, vision. Pace was a naysayer, a destroyer of dreams, a thick splotch of ink over the vibrant strokes and shapes that might otherwise have become a stunning panorama. Pace promised progress, but was a thief disguised.

When I strip away the entire context of pace and instead make peace the goal of the moment, the moment becomes an as yet untouched but willing canvas for an image of experience that can be as intricate and layered as we care for it to be. No more hurried sketches desperately scrawled in hopes the result will reflect an already established ideal of perfection (read: so educated, cultured, informed, prepared) -- an ideal that was never really OUR ideal to begin with, but one that's been constructed for us and through us for sixty years (or at least since the establishment of the modern American model of education).

Pace, or peace? What will guarantee a spirit of life-artistry in the end? Which collection of experiences would most speak to a soul of true thoughtfulness and creativity? One of a mind that's been taught to paint by number within a given restriction of time? Or one that has enjoyed the liberty of every desired color and texture to the satisfaction of the individual's singular spirit, not the institution's impersonal standard?

The concerned adults of the world wield ideal against ideal, all under the same banner of progress for our children. But no matter how loud the voices or how long they speak, it's the parents who own the when, what, why, and how of raising their children. This is what nature intends, why parental instinct exists.

There is no shame or error in parents acting upon conviction in raising up their children, or equivalently, conforming to traditions they've always known in order to accomplish the same. Their defining responsibilities as -- strictly -- "parents" is to grow their children, which they shall go about doing according to primarily their own nurturing instincts and inspirations, not primarily the nurturing instincts and inspirations of other persons or entities.

I think far too often, parents deafen or deaden themselves to their most sophisticated parental instincts out of fear: of failure, of ostracism, of error -- as if the well beaten parenting path of the status quo were failure-, ostracism-, and error-free! We relinquish our leadership thinking we are not worthy leaders, or perhaps these areas of our children's lives are not meant to be led by us, or (most regretfully) other persons or entities were meant to lead our children on "this" particular leg of the journey.

It's one thing for parents to raise their children within the established context of societal norms, and have peace and contentment with their choices. Yet, it's a very different matter for parents to do so because fear or a lack of confidence forces out other options.

This is important for me to write out for myself now because I am making a conscious, intentional decision to throw off the established (and implied) restrictions of pace and instead, commit to nurturing richness of experience and depth of character through peaceful living and learning. It may sound extreme for me to say so, but it's true that such a decision challenges traditions and ideals in countless aspects, from work ethic to integrity, from general knowledge to interpersonal relationships and self-respect, from core education to higher education and beyond. It's the stark contradiction of training versus cultivation. And oh, how it matters!

Funny...boiled down, it all seems to come back to the parent-child relationship and the shared journey, even when the relationship changes and the parent and child paths have long since diverged. What do I sense deep in the soil that forms the full length of the way? Irreproachable love.

No comments:

Post a Comment