I recently read a blog from a young woman who was feeling squashed by her families refusal to allow her to be the creative person she is. A recent college graduate, all she wants to do is write, make a career with her pen. Instead of encouraging her to follow her dream, instead of asking her how she might support herself while at the same time creating her life as a writer, The family want her to just get a good job, anywhere that will pay her big bucks. She is hurt and wondering why her family would be so uncaring about her feelings.
This brought up a lot of thoughts for me, having lived a lifetime of having creativity in any form squashed by seemingly cold hearted family members. I wonder why we do this to each other. Why is it a condition of family acceptance to make the move to adulthood by doing what is expected and what each generation has done before. Does this go back to primitive days when humankind each had a role to fill that was important to the clans very life. If the best hunter wanted to draw cave pictures, the clan might starve. Or is it a hand-me-down from rigid, condemning Victorian standards. Who makes up these rules that govern our society and why are we so cruel when someone wants to break away from what is considered normal. Why is a job as an artist somehow less than a job in an office.
The instability of working for self is a big red flag to many parents. How will my child exist if they don't have a good, nine to five job that pays every week. Will I have to pick up the bill if my child can't get pay from their creative endeavors. These are very good questions to ask.
A look in history shows us that many parents have put down the iron fist on many children. Einsteins teachers told his parents he was below a normal IQ, He worked as a file clerk while changing the world as we know it. Carl Jung also was told he was stupid, yet he among others in his field brought psychology up out of the Dark Ages. There are so many people who were told they could not do something because of one thing or another through out history, both men and women, yet they did. I was told I was not college material by my mother, yet when I went to college, I found the work exhilarating and I did very well. Algebra was a pain, but I passed with decent grades and excelled in all my other courses.
So why squash a light a child has for their future. I believe this is all about fear, fear for the child and in this culture we live in, fear about what others might say if they find out little Johnny might be a bohemian. But who in the world says if you paint, draw, write, if you are a sensitive, an idealist, you are going to destroy your life and live like a criminal.
Its time Dear readers, to get past all the fear and ego and be kind to each other. Support dreams with kind words not words from fear. Ask objective questions and explain your concern but with respect, not anger expecting failure. Autonomy is a treasured thing.
There is a story from the tales of Arthur, this is the version I was given: In this tale Arthur is out on a hunting trip and separated from his group. He comes upon a stag and takes aim and shoots, wounding the animal. The animal runs into the thickets and Arthur being the King that he is can not allow a wounded animal to suffer, so attempts to follow and track it down. He finds he can not walk through the thick of the brush with his weaponry, so removes them and continues unarmed except for a small dagger. Coming upon a clearing he meets an old foe, his foe seeing him unarmed, cries “Arthur, I have you, and today you will die!”Arthur thinks quickly, and responds, “we have been enemies for many years but always with honor have we battled, would you kill me now when I am unarmed, what honor will this bring you.” His foe thinks a moment and says, “You are right, I’ll tell you what, you must answer a riddle, you have one year, if at the end of that year you can not answer my riddle, your head is mine.” Arthur responds with agreement and asks “what is your riddle.” His foe responds “What do women want?” Arthur turns several shades of gray as they part, his thoughts are something like, Oh no, what do woman want, my goose is cooked, how can any man know what women want.
He returns to Camelot and puts the riddle forth to his knights and his court; they all groan and begin the search for the answer. The year goes on and no answer is found, then one day this woman, Dame Ragnal rides into town. She is horrid; earthy, ugly, tusks for teeth, stench surrounding her, smelling like a bog, an absolute repulsive sight. She rides to Arthur, dismounts and tells him she has the answer to his riddle. Arthur looks at her and thinks, well maybe, what have I got to lose but my head, so he allows her to speak. She says, just a moment, “before I give my answer, there is a trade I wish. I wish to marry your most handsome knight, Gawain.” Guinevere shudders, steps in and says, “oh no, we can not allow this, it is too much to ask from Gawain.”
However, Gawain steps forward and replies, “If her answer is correct, then to save my King it is not too much of a trade. I will marry Dame Ragnal.” This agreed upon, the time comes and Arthur’s foe rides into town and asks his riddle, Arthur responds with many different answers and as each one is found wrong; his foe begins to sharpen his sword. Then finally Arthur looks to Gawain and then to Dame Ragnal and shudders and reluctantly gives her answer. “What women want is sovereignty,” his foe looks up startled and dismayed, and he stomps off muttering, “my sister must have told you!”
The wedding is arranged and on that day, Dame Ragnal in her earthy repulsiveness is even worse, everyone feels so sorry for poor Gawain. At the reception, the bride tears at huge halves of hog with her tusks and eats and drinks great quantities, much to everyone’s horror at her mannerisms. The time comes to retire to their night chamber and Gawain ever so truthful to his word and himself, goes with her. In their chamber he has his back to her as they prepare for the night. Dame Ragnal speaks and asks Gawain, “Husband, how about a little kiss.” He still has not faced her, he takes a deep breath and before turning to his bride, responds “nay Lady, you are my wife and I will do more than kiss you.”
He turns and there before him stands the most beautiful woman he has ever seen; of course he gasps and asks “what! Why! How!” Dame Ragnal replies, “By your gallantry you have broken a curse that was on me, and now you have a choice to make. I can be this way for you here in our chambers at night and remain that horrid creature during the day at court, or I can be this beauty you see during the day at court and be that horrid creature here with you at night.
Gawain struggles with this decision, confronting his ego and his fears he finally looks at her, taking her hands he says,” this is too great a decision for me to make for you, it is your decision and only you have the right to choose for yourself.” As he says this she cries aloud, “Gawain, in your recognition that I must make my own decision and not have someone else make it for me. By allowing me the right to choose, you have broken the spell completely and I will now remain as I am, the beast has been vanquished.”(Casey, The Planets. recording tape 5)
Our dear Gawain gave his lady respect and allowed his love to choose her own way. It was hard for him to step away from what others might think, hard to make a decision the royal court might frown upon, he had no idea the curse upon his lady would be broken if he gave her sovereignty. None of us know how our children will turn out after they leave home. I'm not saying let your children do as they will. I'm saying accept your children as adults when they become adults legally. And here is a message for the adult children out there, get off your parents backs, If mom or dad wants to paint themselves blue in Borneo, they have every right to. Your parents did not spend a livetime living, learning, loving and raising you to have their now adult children treat them like idiots and a bothersome duty. Love, respect, dignity, and tolerance go so much farther than spite, anger, and ruthless control ever will, no matter what generation we are.