Channeling Yoda?

I friend posted about love and not accepting hate. This whole “hate” thing has come up a lot lately. The idea of a “hate crime” repulses me, as if it’s ok to hurt someone physically as long as you don’t hate them. Hate probably is on the rise. I’d agree with that, but why is the real question. I think I have an idea. We are repressing fear and anger, and then disallowing the natural results.

Think about a child through a peaceful parenting lens. When a child comes to you with big nasty feelings like, “I hate Bobby! He’s mean and ugly!” or “I hate you Mom because you won’t let me go to the park by myself!”, what do we do? Do we yell back and say “You can’t hate. It’s wrong and terrible!”? Some people might, but peaceful parents don’t. We realize as peaceful adults that everyone has those nasty feelings of hate and we know where they typically come from. We help our kids by validating their feelings, holding them close, and hearing them out without judgment. We let the light in on it, so to speak. Then we can start to talk about where those thoughts came from and whether or not they are really justified.

Maybe he doesn’t really hate Bobby, it’s just that Bobby wouldn’t give him some of his candy and he was so disappointed that his friend would share. Then we can explore how to handle that nasty feeling of being disappointed. The hate is gone. With kids fear, disappointment, and anger can be swept quickly together and boiled into hate in an instant because they are kids.

With Mom, it’s something else but very similar. You know he feels like he’s being treated unfairly, we acknowledge that. We don’t say, “You can’t hate me!” because we know he can very well hate us. To deny that is to deny the reality of his feelings. We need to accept that at the moment he does hate us. Those feelings are very real and powerful. Then we can explore how we got to that hate. We can go back through the situation, see new things, make some explanations, and move on to a better feeling.

Recently, I’ve found that most people today haven’t had peaceful parenting practiced on them growing up. We all could use a bit of extra love even when we’re hateful and mean. We don’t need one more person telling us that our feelings aren’t real and are unwarranted. We need the time and light to explore why we feel this way safely and come to our own conclusions. I find that giving people space to hate and be angry, validating their initial reactions to things, tends to help people work through the fear and anger that caused them to hate something or someone in the first place more than condemning them for having the feeling in the first place.
Love and respect of everyone’s feelings whether we agree with them or not leads to others doing the same. And loving others in a world of people hating is a great place to start. I’m just trying to expand on that idea and explore how we might reduce the rise of perceived hatred in this world.
I’m sure you’d respect justified hate. A human’s first reaction to the unknown is usually fear and anger. Yoda says that! It’s instinctual, a survival skill of days gone by and probably should be explored. If you accept the feeling of fear and anger, validate them, they are explored better. Unexamined fear and anger can lead to hate. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like when we find out about pain or lima beans, explore them, and come to a hateful conclusion. The only way back from hate is to embrace it with love so that it feels safe to explore. When we feel safe to express our true feelings, generally those feelings change. I can really look at them in the light and see if I need to change my heart towards something. Few people that really know another in person can hate that person (unless you’re talking about ants. I really hate them no matter what, but that’s really a thing, not a person.)
That doesn’t mean condoning violence or aggression towards others. I can feel something and not act on that feeling. Much violence is repressed and unacknowledged hate from anger, which comes from fear and causes suffering. (again, I must be channeling Yoda today). Just as when a child who is told he cannot hate or be angry becomes more outwardly violent towards those around them, so does the adult that isn’t allowed to feel the way he feels. You just cannot repress feelings without dire consequences.

Turn Around

Some songs that were just pretty or vaguely moving when I first heard them in my teens have become painful and clear with age and experience. I was listening to Pandora while I did the dishes this morning and heard “Turn Around”. I’ve always loved that song. What does it mean? The lyrics seemed to contradict themselves. Music lyrics are like poetry. Well, the good songs are anyway. They mean something. They are trying to express a feeling or concept. I love them. This one I just couldn’t decipher, until now.

I live this feeling. In the past, I’ve felt pulled in two by conflicting or irrational feelings. When I was younger and first married, I felt stranded between my family life and my independence. I could not succumb to the feeling of being eternally connected others. The responsibility of living up to what other expected of me was just too much. It still is at times. But then he’s there, kind, reassuring, calm, my solid rock that I can never let down, not because I cannot do wrong or fail but because he loves me unconditionally whether I’m happy or sad, rich or poor, grumpy or sweet. When I see that look in his eyes and feel his arms around me, I’m immediately lifted up and powerful. It’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time, a pain in my heart that I treasure more than life itself.

What To Write

I’m debating whether or not to write more about our lifestyle on my blog. Our lives are very different from most other people’s. When I talk to some people I feel like they cannot grasp what it is we do. Even closer family members reveal, in some small ways, that they really don’t “get” us. But should I post to try to bring to people our peaceful and happy way of life? I guess what I really want is for someone out there to see what we really are and there probably is no way of doing that besides living here. Or should I post about our lifestyle to give people a glimpse of another way of living an “American” life? Families are so different and really don’t think any one way has a monopoly on being right, but my children seem well adjusted and happy and it’s not because they are special minds, or that we were very strict and trained them up right. I’d really love my version of a happy family life to be out there for people to see.

Questions about nudity and self-image

Here’s a strange thing to come to my mind. Why do movies have plenty of full frontal nudity with women but not men? I mean, you see a lot of women completely naked head to toe but the most you see of men is the occasional ass shot, which is nice but hardly fair. I know it sounds like I’m kidding, and at first, I thought it was a strange thing to come to mind but then I really started thinking about it. It started when I saw “Bad Moms” with some friends last week. The girl that her husband is cheating on her with is fully naked right there on the screen but the sexy man she ends up sleeping with…all we get is shot of naked chest. And this is a “chick flick”! What the heck? Is it because women generally aren’t turned on by the sight of male genitals? I don’t think so. While it’s probably true that men are more turned on by the sight of some nudity, women probably would like to do some judging as well. Wait. Think about it. Women are constantly comparing each other. She has bigger boobs than me. Her thighs are a lot slimmer than mine. Her ass is way nicer than mine. That’s what we think when we see naked women. But do men do that? I think they would and it makes them uncomfortable. Well, dammit, it makes us uncomfortable in our own skin as well! Personally, I think if more men had to see how other men look on the screen and thought about how it makes them feel less adequate, maybe they’d think about how it makes women feel. In all honesty though, I wonder if most men even care if their mate isn’t model perfect. I think we women bring a lot of our anxiety about how we look on ourselves. We really need to stop.

Drama…Club

A few months ago I started a Drama Club for our local homeschool group. My only “qualifications” were that I took a million drama classes throughout Jr. High and High school and that I wanted to do it. I remember really not liking the classes when I was taking them, mostly because my mother made me go and the kids there were not always the nicest people. I was very shy as a child and honestly I still am. Going to those classes and trying to play the games and workshops that were supposed to make me a more outgoing person were pretty much torture. I sat back as much as possible and just watched. When I did have to participate, it was usually very limited. I felt inhibited and scared that other kids would look down on me or make fun of my ideas. That’s the worst thing that can happen to a young person stuck in perpetual (it seemed to me) school. So why in the world would I recreate that for other kids?!

I’ve changed my perception. I’ve grown. I think I can see the benefits that the adults in my life then saw and I think I can change it a bit to make it more pleasant experience for the young people in my life now. The situation is a little different now. First of all, most (not all) of these kids are there voluntarily. They are there because their parents told them about it and they wanted to go, if not for the drama club, at least to be around some friends for a couple hours. And secondly, I have a different perspective than my teachers in my youth. I’m not naturally outgoing and confident. I’m still learning it. I can sympathize with those that need the space to not participate and just watch. And I now know the benefits of the games and performance activities in all walks of life. Eventually I know they will probably want to jump in and when they do it will be a safe place to try it out. Which brings me to today.

Last week I learned that some of the kids in the group are picking on each other, calling names, and excluding others. We had briefly gone over the idea that drama club, acting, needed to be a place of trust and friendliness to be fun. We glossed over fair play rules. I really thought (in my naivete) that a homeschool group wouldn’t need much of that kind of talk. Their parents are there, or nearby, and would most likely mitigate hurt feelings and natural jealousies between their young ones. I don’t know if this kind of stuff is just born in us and we have to work through it, or if they are learning it from the adults in their lives, but it just can’t happen here if we are going to really be a troop. Oh! Maybe that’s a word I need to bring up? Why we are called an acting troop and what it means.

So I’m stuck. Do I bring it up with the kids individually, the ones that are having the issue? Or do I start over a bit with the rules and such? There are tons of “trust building” games in drama circles. They have been developed because it’s so important. Whatever I chose, will it help? Will the parents go along with it and help? Or will they disagree with me and try to do more and possibly make it worse?

Here’s where is gets even more complicated. Personally, I don’t like groups of children without direct parent involvement. Classes. So why did I start this again? It’s complicated. I may not think it’s useful for kids, my kids would never join a class like this because they just don’t learn anything from it, but other kids might. Everyone learns in a different way. My kids learned these drama club social skills from me. We played games, talked about eye contact, listening, cooperating, using our imagination, etc. all within normal everyday life. They wouldn’t have learned anything in a class setting because they would be more concerned about what people around them were doing, what other kids thought about them. That doesn’t happen really with other adults around them. Kids just made them feel unsafe to express themselves, mostly because of what is happening now in our drama club. Kids are kids. They are just learning how to get along with others. They are impulsive and sometimes rude. Other kids don’t understand that and take it personally. The adults in their lives support and encourage their hurt feelings instead of just being sympathetic and encouraging them to forgive others. All kids and adults are always learning to be human. We all make mistakes and say/do things we shouldn’t. We all hope to be gently corrected, or ignored, and forgiven. How do I express that to these kids?

My plan today is to start over. I have a couple of tension release games, work together on some new guidelines and how we can help each other stick to them, and then some team building games to get kids that don’t usually work together to explore possibilities. It should be positive. Hopefully. Did I mention there are twenty kids between the ages of 4 and 13?

Conversation

I’ll admit that I’m not very good a decent conversation. I’ve always been apt to run at the mouth a bit! I just get so excited about a topic or idea that I can’t stop talking about it. I have been aware of it and have tried to change. I’m still working on it!

This morning’s reading was timely because I’m getting ready to spend the day with family and that tends to get me going. I think I’m nervous around people and that makes me talk more. This was a very good reminder to let others speak their mind. This line alone could really help me to remember, “The two chief ends of conversation are to entertain and improve those we are among, or to receive those benefits ourselves;”. I must remember to allow others to speak!

The reading was Jonathan Swift’s, “Essay on Conversation”. And again, an old reading where nothing has changed over the years.

 

Epictetus

“When one took counsel of Epictetus, saying, “What I seek is this, how even though my brother be not reconciled to me, I may still remain as Nature would have me to be,” he replied: “All great things are slow of growth; nay, this is true even of a grape or of a fig. If then you say to me now, I desire a fig, I shall answer, It needs time: wait till it first flower, then cast its blossom, then ripen. Whereas then the fruit of the fig-tree reaches not maturity suddenly nor yet in a single hour, do you nevertheless desire so quickly and easily to reap the fruit of the mind of man? – Nay, expect it not, even though I bade you!”

I have a wish like this. I want someone to reconcile to me. It may take years and it may never happen. But I cannot make it happen. I can only wait. And if I move toward making it happen, I only slow the natural order of things. I must go about my life, satisfied with the relationships I do have. Which leads me to one more Epictetus quote.

“When we are invited to a banquet, we take what is set before us; and were one to call upon his host to set fish upon the table or sweet things, he would be deemed absurd. Yet in a word, we ask the Gods for what they do not give; and that, although they have given us so many things!”