In the poem, “Sunday Morning Early,” the poet David Romtvedt describes kayaking with his daughter. He is struck by the fact that she’s grown into a young woman and, “suddenly everything is a metaphor/for how short a time we are granted…” Because he is human, he can’t help from commenting on this, pointing out that “it’s Sunday, and here we are/ in the church of the out of doors.” Though he doesn’t mention it, it’s very possible that this comment was received by his daughter with an eye roll, or at the very least a shaking of the head, a turning away. He wishes he’d kept quiet. He wants “to say something truer/than I love you.”But what? Instead, he touches her hand. He doesn’t say anything.
How much time do we fill with nervous chatter? As parents, we often narrate experience for our children. We fill in the facts and explain the history or context, we consciously or unconsciously nudge them toward a shared opinion. As our children grow, they become less tolerant of this narration, perhaps sensing that it is unnecessarily controlling. How can we pull back and just be in the moment? How can we trust that they will create their own metaphors?
THINK: What is important to say?
TALK: Don’t talk. Make a concerted effort this week to let your child experience the world without your injected opinion or interpretation.
WRITE: Do an opinion “dump.” Fill a page or (a notebook) with all the things you wish you’d said. The first thoughts, the interjections, descriptions, clarifications and interpretations. Make a nest of your own metaphors and settle into it.
DO: Ask questions: “What do you think?” “What are your feelings about this?”
BE: Sit together quietly. In your kayaks or on the sofa. Imagine the smooth water rippling out.
GIRL GROUP headquarters is nearly completed. We are getting excited to move into our lovely new space. Keep a lookout for our change of address!
Sending good vibes,
Wesley and Tanya