Last night, I intervened in a fight. Madelyn was baiting Nate about losing a race, and Nate was swallowing her line, defending himself bitterly. They had been coming home for the night, but when Madelyn got home before he did, she proclaimed that "it was a race, and I won." This had Nate in a fury.
After sending Madelyn to a bath, Nate and I talked for half an hour.
Rather, I talked, drawing out why he was so bothered by losing a contest in which he wasn't even engaged. Once I got him to see that comparing ourselves to others is a guarantee for strife, that being in a race or any contest is really about challenging yourself to work harder, not to "beat" someone else, his face lost its scowl.
Then I veered into the fact that being simply born--after generations of people--and being the result of one sperm and egg (with the potential of being a million other sperm), and being born whole and healthy is itself a miracle.
"Just your being born, and being the unique combination that you are makes you worthwhile. What you choose to do with this life is what makes you valuable. Being better than someone else doesn't make you good. You're already good. Getting whacked out about losing to someone else doesn't make you great; it proves you don't believe yourself to be any good UNLESS you beat someone."
We wound around this idea several times, until I stopped and said, "I've been talking a lot. What do you want to say?"
His brow was smooth, eye serene. "I guess...I feel different. I'm not mad anymore."
Then I woke this morning and found this article, about the Tao way in parenting.
The Enlightened Parent: Who's in charge here?
It's about being a leader by not being forceful but supporting others to lead themselves. That's the sense I have from our talk last night--that Nate felt his own greatness.
- ► 2012 (37)
- ▼ 2011 (43)