Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In The Eye

Found in my notes written four years ago and written out of exasperation--obviously:

One  uptight, nervous, nineteen year old daughter for sale, for lease, or maybe for borrow. She should have ordered her foreign currency weeks ago, she shouldn’t have bought so many shorts, she shouldn’t be so nice to every one else while I stand by seething because the wrath of her uncertainty has made me resent that she can be so nice to everyone else.

Her room is always a mess, so much that I sometimes ask, “Did I teach you to keep your room like this?” And yesterday I had to ask, “Did you want to save the Styrofoam carton for any reason?” She’d had her leftover Mexican food for breakfast and the plate, the carton, the spoon were still sitting on the counter at 5:00 that night.

Times change, people change. Children change, daughters change. Parenting the scattered nineteen year old, the high school junior who hasn't lately bothered to attend her Biology class, the child who insists on running alone on a dark night, is like hanging on to the end of a rope swinging in a hurricane. But eventually the hurricane passes and we slide off the rope onto solid ground. 

But within that hurricane, there is always the eye, the center, or the place of astonishing peace. How fascinating that nature has provided a place of calm, amidst one of the most powerfully destructive forces on the earth!

Why else, except for example?

It is for the eye of the hurricane I hurry to, relax into, talk myself into going.

This past week, I had a miserable young man create a hurricane in my class--a week long hurricane. He has failed every semester--until the very end, when he makes up just enough to pass, or when he failed, he made up the class in an online rush that caters to credit recovery. The young man moved beyond his circle of misery and decided to draw me in. He did pull me into his hurricane, but I stepped beyond, into the eye, the place of peace. 

He decided to ridicule my class choices. If I mentioned "Life and death ethics," he'd throw up his hands and say, "Not this again." I was okay in my place of peace until I realized the disturbing hurricane winds were blowing the rest of the class.

Time for accountability--in the director's office. 

I stood before him in a peaceful, sincere, place, and told him I didn't care what he thought of me because I know who I am. 

But each time he says or acts negatively, he hurts himself. He deepens his wounds, his negativity, and since it was spreading to the class, he needed to make a choice. If he didn't like our class, I encouraged him to take Language Arts and History from another source. He would always be welcome, but the choice was his.

He decided to stay. Even told the director he liked the class. He wrote a note of apology.  We'll see. In the meantime, I will be resting within the eye of the storm.