Learning the Bicycle

learning to ride

In the spirit of looking from every angle as this idea of Letting Go, I offer another poem for us to consider; this one by Wyatt Prunty, called Learning the Bicycle.  I have, since the inception of CP101, been posing varying ideas for parents to consider regarding what Letting Go truly asks of us.

For veteran readers, we know that this idea of Letting Go is more about OUR work of letting go of OUR agendas for them – our “shoulds” – that are at the core of what hold our daughter & sons in a place of reliance on us and the ways that this inhibits their ability to become healthy and self-reliant.  These “shoulds” also hold us as parents back; perpetually connected to the roles we have occupied in our children’s early years, but must be relinquished so that we too might be free to be our best and fullest selves.

So I offer Prunty’s poem here as an image of what this process feels like; what the bicycle process can offer us as a teacher to do our best work as parents, and to offer our children into the teaching of their own lives.

Learning the Bicycle
by Wyatt Prunty

The older children pedal past
Stable as little gyros, spinning hard
To supper, bath, and bed, until at last
We also quit, silent and tired
Beside the darkening yard where trees
Now shadow up instead of down.
Their predictable lengths can only tease
Her as, head lowered, she walks her bike alone
Somewhere between her wanting to ride
And her certainty she will always fall.
Tomorrow, though I will run behind,
Arms out to catch her, she’ll tilt then balance wide
Of my reach, till distance makes her small,
Smaller, beyond the place I stop and know
That to teach her I had to follow
And when she learned I had to let her go

How to Raise an Adult

How to Raise an Adult

A cadre of new publications is coming to market based on growing research evidence of the long-term effects of what we’ve come to know as “helicopter parenting”.  There has been anecdotal evidence for some time; be it comments from teachers or the railing of cultural commentators, that this “hovering” style of parenting teaches kids reliance that minimizes resiliency, or an inability to trust decision-making abilities.

The piece below is an excerpt from a new text which gleans some of the current statistics from academic institutions themselves as to the day-to-day effects of this dynamic.  I have been talking about this from one angle for a number of years: my own experience as both an administrator and faculty member in the ways I see this present in the lives of those students I interact with daily.  It is another thing, and at another level, to recognize the gravity of what this is doing to and in our rising generation of leaders, AND, I sense the weight of responsibility we (parents) bear for the context we have created.

So, I leave you with this piece; to wrestle with the issue on a large scale, and to engage with your individual contribution (as I’m doing) in the life of your daughter or son. Continue reading →

Financing Sense – A Syllabus…

piggy bank

As the price of higher education becomes more expensive year after year, it becomes incumbent for both parents and students to be more informed and savvy about finding ways to make this dream more accessible and less costly over time.  It’s a daunting task for most families; especially for those students who will absorb the primary responsibility of financing their own education.

I’m grateful to one of our readers (thank you Brandi) for the link to the following graphic from CompareCards.com.  It is a comprehensive and thoughtful treatment of a long-term relationship with finance and debt of college expenses, and ways for students to begin a life of negotiating the intricacies of the financial marketplace.

I might suggest that you sit down with your student to walk and talk your way through this step-by-step process of considering the ways your family’s unique financial situation will come to play as your student begins the college experience.

http://blog.comparecards.com/infographics/financeu-syllabus/

 

Overparenting…

overparenting2

A friend sent this article recently, knowing that I am waist-deep in this conversation, especially this time of year; mid-summer in the heart of New Student & Parent Orientation season.

I’ve not read the book (yet), though I sense I will as I hear the author’s premise ringing true to the one I’ve recognized in my own work as a parent, and as I continually speak to the necessity of an intentional and thoughtful relationship transition in the myriad ways that I do here.

I’d be interested to hear from you about how you engage in your own family and life with the perspective that the author poses in this excerpt.

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/06/09/what-overparenting-looks-like-from-a-stanford-deans-perspective/

As always…Peace for the Journey, Dane

Meaning changes as life unfolds…

I read the following posting recently by one of my favorite authors and poets, Parker Palmer.  Parker is a Quaker and so brings a unique and settled perspective to any conversation.  I’m grateful for his insights here and his challenge to see what is present with and for us as our lives unfold.  It’s certainly a relevant and viable topic for our on-going CP101 conversation.  I’ll be curious to hear from you about how this resonates in your own story.

by Parker J. Palmer,  weekly columnist On Being

I ran across this poem the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s a poem about how we relate to the past — a question that’s relevant at any age, not least when you’re old enough to have more past than future!

Thanks, Robert Frost
by David Ray

Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was
, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought…
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
And I too, and my children, so I hope,
will recall as not too heavy the tug
of those albatrosses I sadly placed
upon their tender necks. Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage
,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.

The past isn’t fixed and frozen in place. Instead, its meaning changes as life unfolds. I once lost a job. At the time, it felt as if I had come to the end of the road. But after a while, I was able to see how that loss helped guide me toward my true life-work. Losing that job was a blessing, not a curse.

I’ve made many mistakes and often failed to live up to my aspirations, but I don’t need to look back with regret. Instead, I can see all of my mess-ups as humus or compost for the growing I needed to do.

I love the fact that the word “humus” is related to “humility.” The good I do today may well have its roots in something not-so-good I did in the past. Knowing that takes me beyond both the sinkhole of regret and the hot-air balloon of pride.

Regret shuts life down. Humility opens it up. So Robert Frost was right. We can have hope for the past as well as the future!

Spring Break is around the corner…

Spring Break2

With the advancing calendar, spring is right around the corner.  With that comes the decision about what to do for Spring Break – go home, look for a summer job, or with the new-found freedom of college take the first college spring break trip.

There are more than enough tales of famous and infamous spring break experiences, some of which you may be able to recite yourself.  We even have access to television shows documenting the escapades of raucous students tossing logic, good sense, and sometimes their very selves to the wind for a few days of “letting off some steam” to cope with the demands and pressure of the daily grind.

Surveys of current college students tell us that more than 60% will Continue reading →

Courage to be Vulnerable

arms open wide

As any regular reader of CP101 will tell you, I’m typically finding any tact I can find to lean us toward new ways to wonder, look at, or consider the work we each still need to do around “showing up well” in our closest and most intimate relationships.

I have on a couple of occasions mentioned the work of Brene Brown who has spoken and written extensively on the topic of vulnerability and shame (the primary focus of her research).  Her TED talks have topped the charts – one at over 18 million views – more than just hinting at her very accessible conversations on the topic, both as a researcher and as a wife, mother and human.  http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.

I also subscribe to the interview series: On Being. A fascinating collection of interviews exploring the spiritual and human search.  I listened recently as host Krista Tippett interviewed Brown on the topic of Vulnerability as an essential component of Courage; both of them modeling the difficulty and desire to explore the myths and deep truths of what it looks like to, as Brown seeks to expand, live wholeheartedly.

There is a specific part of this related to parenting that I find to be completely resonant with what I have speaking to for a long time.  So, I’d like to encourage you to take the time, with your parenting partner and/or with you daughter/son, to sit down and listen to the truths explored here.

Peace all around, Dane

http://www.onbeing.org/program/brene-brown-on-vulnerability/4928/audio?embed=1&utm_source=On+Being+Newsletter&utm_campaign=18478543c5-20150131_Brene_Brown_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1c66543c2f-18478543c5-69848605

 

 

Practicing…

practicing piano

I posted a poem some time back by this same poet, Linda Pastan, entitled “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”  I find her imagery and attention to be helpful in my own journey in identifying those “flashes of brilliance” in the commonplace events of our days.  To be equitable, I sensed a poem from her about sons would be only appropriate.  May her metaphor help you find your own truth in your own story.

Peace, Dane

My son is practicing the piano.
He is a man now, not the boy
whose lessons I once sat through,
whose reluctant practicing
I demanded—part of the obligation
I felt to the growth
and composition of a child.

Upstairs my grandchildren are sleeping,
though they complained earlier of the music
which rises like smoke up through the floorboards,
coloring the fabric of their dreams.
On the porch my husband watches the garden fade
into summer twilight, flower by flower;
it must be a little like listening to the fading

diminuendo notes of Mozart.
But here where the dining room table
has been pushed aside to make room
for this second or third-hand upright,
my son is playing the kind of music
it took him all these years,
and sons of his own, to want to make.

“Practicing” by Linda Pastan, from The Last Uncle. © W. W. Norton, 2002

The Traditions we Live by…

rockwell thanksgiving

This post is back by popular request….

The TV commercials and internet advertisements have begun; images of idyllic family celebrations.  Thanksgiving is upon us, as are the Winter holidays; seasons full of expectations, hope and resolutions.

One of the dynamics at play this time of year is that the approaching season is the most tradition-based on the calendar.  Families are often attempting to create something akin to the quintessential turkey-laden feast Norman Rockwell made famous in the painting above.  How might this relate to my college student, you ask?  Continue reading →

Seasonal shifts —

winter field

With the arrival of both cold weather and, for many, the advent of daylight savings time, we all have some reaction to the changing seasons.  Whether it is dark when we wake or dark when we leave school or work, the shift in seasons brings any number of reactions.

For some, the shift can also be associated with other issues.  I’d like to thank Dr. Jesse Viner from the Yellowbrick Treatment Center for the chart you’ll find below explaining one of the more recent phenomena in the world of mental health issues. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by Continue reading →