Monday, June 14, 2010
My eldest sister said something to me last weekend that really made me think. While gesturing at these lovely pizzas that she'd "thrown together", she said, "I may not be able to do all the creative stuff you do, but I can make these!" I mused about that a bit. You know how in families, siblings can often be assigned roles? "She's the creative/rebellious/nurturing/adventurous/quiet/bossy one". It can be hard to break out of the roles that are placed upon us, even if you don't identify yourself that way. For instance, I was often teased for being "lazy", because I was often to be found up in a tree or under the covers with a cat and a book. Why not introspective, bookish, thoughtful, or intelligent?
I have made a conscious effort to "unlabel" my children when I hear other relatives describing them in a certain way. What works best is adjusting the adjective. Instead of stubborn, I say determined. Instead of emotional, I say passionate. I'm not delusional; who knows a child's "flaws" more than their mother? But it is my wish to redefine the qualities that make your child challenging, as I know that the characteristics that are the hardest to deal with are the ones that will most serve him/her when they are out in this world on their own: persistence, determination, passion, and independence.
Similarly, it can be hard to break INTO a characteristic. If one child is creative, it can be hard for another to find themselves creatively. So, although my siblings and I are all creative, I think perhaps I was labelled the "creative one". My sister's words drove this point home, even though I remember thinking she was the best artist in the world, had the coolest handwriting, could French braid my hair...
Her creativity comes out most in the kitchen. Admittedly, food is not my medium of choice. But Lana truly relishes the details...needless to say, I let her do the cooking when we get together, and it is my pleasure to devour her creations, in awe of her flair and apparent ease with a task I find tedious at best.
My other sister, who is between the eldest and I, was the "rebellious" one. Even when she wasn't rebelling, she was considered rebellious. So even though I rebelled in my own ways, I was never called rebellious. And even though she has many creative talents, I am still considered "the creative one".
Julie creates amazing works of art by casting the natural, diverse, and ancient beauty of the female torso. Check out her work at http://www.ottawabellycasts.com/; if you live locally, you might even consider having one done! A sneak peak at her finished product:
Reflect upon the adjectives that have defined who you think you are. Do they still fit? Did they ever?Do you "label" your children? Is there room for these labels to be revised, rethought, or removed altogether?
What label would you most like to have applied to you?