In front of the crowd – week 66

I spent the week working with an inspiring group of people through Melbourne’s Slow School of Business. We spent the week stripping back our words and rebuilding stories of purpose. This is my story…

When I was 10 I saddled my pony, my mother stuffed two Mars Bars into my pocket and I rode out on a family farm larger than Melbourne; my adventures lasting all day. The rule to be home by dark.

Now I am the mother of ten year old Theodore and his brother Sebastian. Two inner city tweens –that crack of age of nine to 12 from childhood to teenage years. Teenagers in waiting. The world of parenting is packed with prescriptive actions, Wi-Fi blockers and scenarios of fear.

As parents we are fearful of a world that is unknown to us. I seek the courage of my mother to trust my tweens and their street smartness. The smartness of growing up in laneways leaking hookers, syringes and beatboys.

There were no streets in Western New South Wales.

What could possibly go wrong if I packed my boys off with Mar Bars for a day on their bikes? Be home by dark?

Sebastian as a 10 year old took himself to and from school, dragging his little brother through the laneways and trams of Melbourne. Within weeks, neighbourhood parents asked if he could take their children too.

Sebastian became the mother hen of Richmond – with his gaggle of winding kids.

My grit in Sebastian gave parent’s permission to trust. These parents turned their fear of the “white van man” into the courage of the tribe. Are you this parent?

From the fat open spaces of rural Australia to the everyday creak, rush and grunge of inner city Richmond I became the courageous parent. Our nanny resigned – the thought of drudging through the advertising, interviewing and finding someone else was so exhausting. So much easier to push the kids onto the streets!

Trusting my tweens can be tough. Mistakes are made, timelines are missed. The fearful playground parents relish in the regaling of horror stories of snatched children from sidewalks, flashings in the park and online antics.

By having faith in my boys, I have found the courage to let go of my fear; it has allowed me to watch the missteps of my sons, to stretch into the real world with one hand on the apron strings. I have given myself permission to let my sons have the freedom that my mother gave me to explore worlds and universes that didn’t exist five let alone 40 years ago.

It is this time of trust, courage and freedom that will be the strength behind the tricky teens and yucky youths.

Be courageous, be the brave parent.

Warmly

in the library

Jessica x

23 August  2015

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Stormy clouds – week 65

Stormy clouds hung over Tween Two.

In full force he fought the demons that make him crack.break.fall apart.

It was the last week of term. The school production was in full swing with Tween Two taking on a  front and centre role.

He learnt the lines, he sang the songs; solos were practiced and practiced. He examined the life of his character.

The opening night was beyond spectacular. The crowds cheered at the incredible display of 70 children having the time of their lives; the stunning singing, the acting, the words.

The second night arrives; a few mistakes, a missed line, a yawn. Tween Two was primed and ready to deliver his piece. He missed a beat, memory went blank – eyes widened. The cast nudged in, a heart beat, just a fumbled word, phew… the scene moves on and words are remembered.

Sitting in the second row I noticed a physical change. A squaring of shoulders, a face turned to thunder. The tears begin to fall.

My stomach lurched, the play continued.

Its the solo act, the singing of a narrative song. Tween Two steps to the front of the stage, thick with glistening shine, chin out and sings.

The voice is clear, striking, moving. The crowd holds its breath, the tears continue to flow. He does it. He makes it through, not just as a struggle but as a sound byte that delivers one of his best.

Standing ovations for the whole cast and the lumbering thankfulness of a mother.

Backstage I gather my 10 year old into my arms, I wrap him in kisses and take him home.

I am so full-blown proud that he held it together, that he really, really understood what resilience really feels like. Its not just a word tossed about during class time, not just a stamp on a page that ticks the box.

Resilence is a physical, a mental and whole lot of guts to keep going, to stand up and stand out. Its a moment, a time that once strongly felt enables anyone to rise up and be counted.

And my mother pride saw the growing up of Tween Two, his gathering of inner strength and the breaking away of the boy that stood in his way.

The toughness of the moment led to a deep sleep that gave silver lining in the morning.

 

Warmly

in the library

Jessica x

5 July  2015

 

Ps. On the cold June night when my second child flooded his face with tears in the middle of the school production, I did everything I could not to rush onto the stage to cuddle him. To watch your young child soldier on, to sing an incredible piece whilst flooding the floor with his tears of inner despair and disappointment was heart wrenching.

Reflecting back on this moment I still feel slightly sick. I’m also incredibly proud of his strength to continue on – I wonder what I would have done if it was me?

As parents in the thick of parenting we can forget that our children are tough, or can be tough in circumstances we can’t predict. We are lucky to be watchers and to share their path of discovery.

Merciful holidays…. and it begins all again next week.

What toughness have your children shown you?

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Comments are always welcome. Please be mindful 
however that words can enlighten or dishearten.