|Of the Beholder 18 x 24 pastels|
When my daughter went off to college, years ago, shortly before her winter break, she noticed a problem with her right eye. Initially, when she described it, I thought she may have had an infection or she kept a contact in too long and it was ripped. She said it looked like a black line running vertically along the corner of her vision. We were very concerned and wanted to put her on a plane right away! This was her first year away from us and while I was okay with that part, the "father" in me (protector, provider) wanted her back home ASAP! She assured us she was able to see well enough to complete her semester and would be home before Christmas. Hoping it was an easy fix, we took her to a specialist who told us this was a rare occurrence for a teenager and typically only occurs in the senior years. She had surgery and had to spend the majority of Christmas break lying in bed. And of course, as a parent, I thought of all the implications this injury could cause down the road. It was so bad, the doctors said if healing took longer than expected, she couldn't fly back to school. Believe me, we were in full parent mode!
It is the job of parents and "wiser adults" to guide youth. Sure teens "know more than we do," at least they like to think they do. They think we were in school when man first discovered fire, but we know we started school shortly after that! (smile) But there is a problem with trying to protect and nurture your child when you try to guide them toward "safe careers." As teens and young adults, unless we choose a career like an accountant, teacher (in some cases) or doctor, we are told to consider a different minor or, as I was told: "Plan B." I remember when this was said to me, I heard it often and begin to question my abilities and my dreams. Did I really have the skills and aptitude to be an artist? Could I compete with the other artists?
When I entered high school and college, the art teachers loved me! They loved my ability and encouraged me to expand my capabilities. But I could hear my original guides, my mom and dad saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket." What I really heard was "the world is difficult and you should choose the easiest route through life as possible." I also heard: "you're work is okay but I don't think it's good enough to compete with everyone else." Amazing how, the introduction of plan b, became my ONLY plan. Oh, I didn't roll over quite that easily, I graduated from college, B.A. of Fine Arts, but by senior year, I was sure I wouldn't be able to use my diploma as anything more than a wall hanging.
By the time my children begin to fill my days and go to school, I was entrenched up to my neck in Plan B living. As such, I was determined to allow them to bend in the direction they deemed best. I would steer, but not control. Guide, but not manipulate and force them to see life through my disappointments. It's always my hope, as they grow, that their vision remains clear and they find the guide God placed in them, guides them TRULY! Certainly, I hurt when they do, I hate it when my children are in pain of any kind, but it is far better to experience pain in your efforts to manifest the life you've always dreamed of.