What this is about is change. Changing yourself, changing myself, who can change what, and how we literally have zero ability to change someone else unless they want to change. Why we want to change or don’t want to change. How we can change and why we don’t. I’m opening the discussion knowing full well that it all comes down to the serenity prayer when all is said and done.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Everything about this topic has been weighing on me in the last few days. So what do I do? Purchase hair products, of course. On the left in the photo below, we have “Big Sexy Hair’s Blow Dry Volumizing Gel.” The only thing that surprises me about the packaging is that it isn’t phallic-shaped. To the right we see “Nexxus Humectress Luxe Ultimate Moisturizing Leave-In Spray.” (Packaging a bit more…to the point). I can’t WAIT to try them both. I’ll be fluffy in all the right places and smooth in the others!!!!1
Today at school–and right here and now I declare that I’m finished trying to define myself unless I just feel like indulging–we had a guest speaker. She was actually quite wonderful and, by the way, was about my age and yet had a killer figure and I was excited about that only because it said to me, “it’s possible!!” She was “mature” yet cute. But I’ll talk about that later and it’s pertinent to this discussion, for sure. Central. Anyway.
The speaker gave us a list of “Predictors of Adult Success and Happiness” as researched and compiled by social scientists whose names I don’t know. The top 10 list is as follows (only there are only nine):
Caring and compassion
Honesty and integrity
Sense of humor
Openness and lack of defensiveness in sharing feelings
Tolerance and acceptance of others’ quirks and failings
Dedication and commitment
Empathizing with others
Her point was that these are the concepts and qualities that we must teach. Especially in early childhood, these are the areas where we must lay the foundations for future success and happiness! Not reading, not writing. Not math, not science. Social and emotional intelligence will set the stage for future success!
As a long time teacher, I know this is true. If she had said it and I did not agree, I wouldn’t be posting it here just because an “expert” presented it publicly. I am always skeptical about speakers and theories and “studies” that tell us what to think. It’s just that I know from 20 years experience with young children that what she says is the truth.
Of course, there is also the fact that I am a huge proponent of emotional growth, knowing oneself, exploring feelings, emphasizing relationships and working on internal change.
With the speaker’s encouragement, we talked in our small group about one particular boy who is known to all the teachers to be especially difficult. His current teachers were asking for advice. Among other things, the discussion caused me to remember that we DO have heavy influence as teachers and that is why we do what we do. We CAN affect change and that is a powerful mission and accomplishment in a life well-spent. The changes, I will tell you, happen over long, long, long expanses of time, as we reinforce essential concepts time and time again. And the changes can also occur in an instant which never ceases to astonish anyone and everyone who is paying attention.
I try to change myself. This weekend was my 35th wedding anniversary. I received a gorgeous necklace and earrings from my husband. I took photos of myself in the new finery and then I HATED most of the images. I love the potential in them but I set about altering them to suit my idea of who I want to be. Like putting on make-up, I altered the pictures with gauzian blur and watercolor magique via photoshopian transformative choices. This reminds me of some of the boys at school who are obsessed with Transformers. Wow–we want to transform into something that we are not. Is this a natural impulse? Are we trying to hide? Or is it “okay”?
What about the creative impulse to alter EVERYTHING????
Here is an image of me that I like, now that I’ve minimized the things I see as “flaws.”
I somehow love that it’s still me in there somewhere (I can see the hopeful remnants of the precious second grader before she was tainted), yet I have almost made myself go away entirely!
Inner beauty, outer beauty, the truth behind “bad” behavior in young boys, why I hide, why I continue to crave authenticity and why the hell I would let myself be exposed like this in a frickin’ blog. WELL dear reader, these are all topics to be explored further in this continuing saga. More to come, more to come. Good night.