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April 25, 2012

Latchkey Resiliance

There are so many stories to share ... so many aha moments that I went through during my time at The Makerie that I kind of don't know where to start. Let me start by sharing about a really terrific night ... the second night of the retreat when the teachers had the chance to share through the teachers' forum.

Jenny Doh
To the left of me were Flora, Alessandra, and Liesl ...

The Makerie
To the right of me were Allison (shown in the first picture), Marisa, Aran, and Ali ... all amazing women who provided so many great insights about the artistic process, inspiration, and the pursuit of creative work.

The Makerie
The forum was structured in a way where depending on the question asked, a teacher could respond to it ... or not. Not everyone responded to every question but we all responded to at least one question.

When a participant asked the question about how best to balance and juggle a creative life, especially in light of the occasional guilt we may feel regarding how we fall short as parents to our children ... I found my hand popping up into the air to respond.

My response had much to do with my own childhood ...

I explained that when I was growing up in Bakersfield with my two older brothers, I had a key to the house that I wore on a chain around my neck. There's a term for who I was. I was a latchkey kid. After school, we used our respective keys to let ourselves into the empty house while our parents were working long, long hours running their fast food business.

We fixed our own snacks. We fixed our own dinners. We washed our own clothes, folded them, and put them away. We watched TV some. We did our homework some. We played outside some. When I think back, it's a wonder that we survived all the things that our current generation of parents fear ... we didn't burn the house down ... we didn't get abducted ... we didn't fail in school ... we didn't develop low self-esteem. When my folks got home late at night, they did check in with us but they were exhausted. But we had cohesion. We were a unit. And we knew we were all in it together, despite each of our shortcomings. Through each of these days, what I learned most was resiliance ... not because it was taught, but because it was lived. It's the thing that allowed me to figure things out and be strong without being coddled. Resiliance ... it's the best thing I ever learned because with it, I've been able to weather anything and everything that life has thrown at me.

Though we didn't turn out perfect, we all turned out ok. My mom didn't ever bring homebaked cookies into my classroom. My folks never went to my brothers' sports games. They didn't buy any of us Hooked on Phonics or other state-of-the-art tools to get us ahead academically.

So here we are. Today.
Even if we feel we aren't there 100 percent for our kids 7 days a week, I think it's important for we parents to cut ourselves some slack. There are instances where parents are fully engaged and give themselves 100 percent to their kids ... and their kids STILL end up making bad choices. And vice versa.

We parents ...
We do the best that we can.
And no matter how that "best" looks ... it's never perfect and we all fall short. Thank goodness. Because I think it's especially when we fall short that the universe intervenes by providing opportunities for our kids to problem-solve, figure things out, and be resiliant. 

Our kids ...
They do the best that they can.
And for the most part ... no matter what ... they're gonna be just fine.


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Wonderful post, Jenny.

That is so true. And the same grace we show our parents, we hope our children show us. And the circle of life goes on.

Great post Jenny, perfect timing for me as I was feeling shitty about forgetting (for the second time) that it was my daughter's turn to bring snacks for her Girl Scout troop.

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