I was reading a book about raising kids and there was a part which spoke about how we get kids “ready for kindergarten,” ready for middle school. Always hurrying to get them ready rather than savoring where they are right now.
As a parent in a town full of high-achieving parents who in turn do everything to produce high-achieving kids, I see that constantly. Prep for this, train for that, position for the other. We all buy into it to some degree. We do it out of love and a desire to make certain that our children succeed. But at what cost? And what sort of success?
My nine-year-old daughter announced to me the other day that soon she would be getting headaches. Why is that? I asked. Puberty, she answered. She read a book that is designed to prepare her for this upcoming stage. Yuck. Must hide that book.
Picasso had his blue, his rose, his cubist periods, but surely he didn’t prepare for them… they simply developed organically along with the things which interested him, those which gave him passion at the moment.
Like most creative types he was a man of many passions. We are all full of passions, though some unseen, unexpressed, locked in the constricts of what is expected of that period, what is appropriate for the next. Like a boa’s grip they sometimes leave us without the ability to breathe, they tighten our chests and don’t allow our hearts to beat banging out their rhythm.
Tonight I ate three of the most exquisite oysters which slid down my throat fresh with the taste of the sea still upon them, my dessert the smiles of those I love. Tomorrow I will twirl my little one and reassure her that there will be no headaches, not in this stage nor the next.
Stages are lines not written indelibly but with string which bends and stretches, curves and twists.