Hands Full of Rocks

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February 06, 2009

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Goddess Babe

You SO FREAKIN' ROCK!!

Yes, you are aware and smart and wise and interesting. And WEIRD. I'm sure that's why I love you and lean on you and list you as best friend.

FURTHERMORE, I'm taking a page from your management of Mr. G's current situation for myself. If I can do those things for myself, I will be a much happier woman. And, my kid will have permission to be weird. Which would be AWESOME.

Thanks for being you.

Cathy

I think you thought of most of my ideas - finding a set of kids who have more in common - youth group, club, lessons for something, etc. Also that he's at a point where it's normal to be switching from getting perspective/validation from his family to having it come from his friends. And it's tricky.

But here's another thing - there's always going to be situations where all you have in common with people is the superficial experience stuff - you're in the same class, you live in the same neighborhood, you have the same relatives, etc. Not because you both chose to be there. These people might not end up being your nearest and dearest in 30 years, but still you'll always be able to chuckle about that time in chem lab....

One more thing - I think that most people feel like they were the odd guy out in middle/high school. Hardly anyone (no one in my circle) was the quarterback or head cheerleader and very popular. Well, I know one person who was. Maybe as a computer science major and software developer, I self-selected out of that stuff as soon as I could. But even celebrities - when you read interviews about how they were in high school they'll almost always say that they were funny looking or goofy or something. I think that in the long term, this discomfort serves a purpose (its too no-fun to call it good, exactly). But I think it helps us to figure out where we want to be and for us to get there.

hedra

@Cathy - you're right. I'm not planning to rescue him from the discomfort. Skills should be built, but they won't come in a day, and in the meantime, it is what it is, and that's ouchy. I want him to know that ouchy is okay, too. It might not be the most fun in the world, but it isn't something one has to escape, because it really isn't that big a deal. That's actually a big part of my job, allowing other people to be totally miserable and not having it affect me at all, other than generating sympathy and empathy. I just did that on the phone, in fact - let someone express their discomfort, unhappiness, stress, frustration, and annoyance, plus their sense that they're not getting what they need. Heard it, reinforced that it was valid, made clear that I'm working on solving it for them, but mainly just listened and reflected. If I couldn't get outside how other people being unhappy at me made ME feel, I couldn't help the other people. So I'm not bothered by other people being angry (okay, at least at work!), or frustrated, or annoyed. I can stay with that without fear, hurt, guilt, shame, whatever. That's something I'd like my kids to understand, that it isn't always about us, even when it has to do with us, or when we're responsible for handling the situation (or even causing it). If that makes sense in this context.

And I agree also on the 'all you have in common is this' stuff - that's why I want him to learn to consider and listen, because there's plenty there that IS alike, but that he's not noticing. If he listened more and talked less, he'd be more able to see that. So, works in progress.

@GoddessBabe, thanks. :)

Cathy

yup. And does Mr. G remember that when other kids are being not nice that it frequently says more about how they feel about themselves than it does about what they think of him? Mr. G might be pretty intimidating - he has strong ideas of what he'd like to be/do when he grows up, and strong character...that's got to be kind of threatening when you are 10,11,12 and feeling like things are crazy. It doesn't make a good comeback, but it's nice reassurance.

hedra

@Cathy, yeah, he knows. He's known that instinctively forever (back in preschool, he understood that the bully that targeted him did so because the kid was sad and angry and scared, not because he hated Mr G - in fact, they were very good friends except when the other kid had distressing things happen in his own life). We talked about the fact that he is beyond his years, and that the other kids might not be - they may be just where the are, age-wise, and that means he just doesn't make sense to them. Later, he will, but now, he doesn't.

Ah, well.

Katie B.

@ the SCA thing - as a second-generation scadian (I *just* missed being born in A.S. single digits), I find your group's opinion hilarious. That's pretty much the opposite of what most other historical reenactment groups think, which is that the SCA is too eclectic, not focused enough on history, and sacrifices accuracy in weapons reproduction for safety. Besides, rattan is squishy enough (usually breaks before bones do, and my parents being who they are, I grew up on stories of the early experiments in fighting and how they came to use rattan), and fighting bruises are sexy. ;) May I ask what group you were in?

As for Mr G's dilemma: yeah, he's weird. He'd be weird if he were an adult. That's not a bad thing! Sadly, I know well from experience that it will take some time to get to where he can take pride in being weird. But you rock (yes, you do - now don't do yourself an injury with the back-patting, rotator cuff injuries SUCK), and have helped him lay a fantastic foundation for getting there. I wish I could give a more concrete suggestion... but tell him that *I* think he rocks, and I think his goals are amazing! Can I come help form a community with him, and be the midwife? *grin*

hedra

Heh. I figured that someone SCA related would have a different opinion. It was clear that our little group was an outlier. (Markland, and they SERIOUSLY padded their weapons. Rattan? Who needs a concussion? Just because it didn't break a bone doesn't mean it can't do permanent harm! Foam and duct tape over the top, please! And the local SCA - AT THE TIME - did have re-enactments with full metal weapons, not rattan. A lot of the members were ex-SCA who had either been hurt or who had seen someone hurt, the reaction was pretty strongly stated with that emotional loading.) Um, anyway. I checked, and the group still exists, it is regional (NYC to VA), and they still do Frat fighting (custom safety-built weapons and protective gear), and also choreographed fights with accurate weapons - no crossing of materials with mode, ever.

Now, do recall that I was in this group oh, um, (cough), 28 years ago... so the opinions held at the time probably are not that relevant now. :)

Amy

Wow, we are going through some social stuff ourselves (but with our 3 1/2 year old in preschool) and it's been so helpful to hear these thoughts. I know we can do a better job of reflecting back to him ourselves and plan to start today. Thanks for this! And Mr. G sounds like someone who will have a wonderful college experience!

Lisa F.

Like Amy, we too are going through social stuff at preschool with OUR 3.5 year old, so this was just what I needed. I was almost going to askMoxie just to see your response (and I still might) but this helps me get through for now.

it triggers a lot of my own misfit feelings which makes it hard to stay clear & figure out how to help him.

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