Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16 -Gratituesday 10.16.12

Way back when....my therapist challenged me with the idea that amid the chaos and craziness that ensues during the course of ending things it is so important to recognize the GOOD, the IMPROVED, the BLESSINGS that exist in our lives, no matter how small, or how insignificant it may seem.  Recognizing that we do have good things in our lives allows us to refocus and gain perspective.

Today I am grateful for the ability to make U-turns in our life as we need them.

Slowly - ever so slowly I am catching myself beginning to repeat old habits and in that same moment make a purposeful decision to change things - turn 180° and choose something else.  I was reminded this week of an experience with Steampunk a few years ago - and just like her experience, I made some conscious choices to change my own attitude, my commitment, and my way of handling something this week.

The part I hate most about being a mom - is being the bad guy.

I don't mean in a give-me-the-mom-of-the-year-award-because-I-screwed-up kind of way. I mean because despite my amazing, super-supportive, cheerleading, bribery and cajoling the offspring - they still have free agency which allows them to screw up.

Watching your kids screw up is hard.

This week was progress reports week.

You got it - Steampunk - you know artist in residence who adores art, who is carrying not one but two (2) Advanced Placement (read: college level) art classes - failed them both. Not just got a D kind of fail but outright, less than 40 points total FAILED.

I was angry, ticked off, enraged, disappointed mostly. There comes a point somewhere between middle school and high school where I begin to step back and let failure exist so that they become personally invested in their own success, and begin to work through handling the stress and problem solving stuff that comes with growing up.

She knew she had screwed up - and she was beating herself up pretty good, so I held off with the beating from me and asked what she thought she had done wrong. Her answer? "I've only turned in one piece of art since Thanksgiving. I'm just not motivated." and that is when the ah ha moment turned on. You see, each semester the art kids have to pick a genre to work in and produce 12 pieces- Steampunk thought that she'd "try something new" - and chose mythological creatures. (I know, surprised to me too because it's so NOT her style.) SO she's been unhappy and uninspired, trying to get motivated, but losing the battle.

In an effort to work on that problem solving thing with her - I asked what she thought she could do to overcome this. Her solution? To talk to the instructor and see if she could change her genre. This by no means is an easy decision. It means tackling 12 NEW pieces due by May 10th. Her new genre? People. (Hello! Totally your niche girl!) I told her I would leave it to her to go and talk with her instructor and work out the details.

Her instructor was hesitant, but appreciated the honesty and realism that Steampunk presented and told her she wasn't cutting her any slack - she would still be required to complete all 12 pieces for the semester portfolio, and she didn't back down with this and has since finished her first piece. The lesson? Sometimes it takes realizing your niche through failure to succeed.

It has been an interesting lesson for me in all this too. While I was upset and disappointed (as was she), SHE recognized the need for a complete U-turn in what she was doing without too much prompting on my part, and she was able to trust her own ability to make things right by doing what she knows. It gives me hope - and it's nice to see that allowing failure isn't a bad thing. It lets them figure out how to fix stuff on their own.  It's nice to still be needed in this.

Once again I am taking lessons from the kiddos and applying them into my own life.  I literally stopped mid self-beating over something, changed my approach and took the giant leap of faith and trusted MYSELF in making the changes to just get past and do something else.  Making that single U-turn honestly has given me new strength. :)

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