Ode To Parenting

Parenting by Kay Dee (@i.am.kaydee)

Parenting is never boring! It’s the adventure that keeps on giving (even sometimes when you wish it wouldn’t. Lol.)  And if we’re receptive (have open hearts) we can learn so much from the experience.

Children, no matter the age, have this uncanny way of causing us to face ourselves…a humbling experience I assure you. They also have the ability to draw out of us a love so deep and so strong that the intensity of that love often surprises us.

Although there are a multitude of resources available on the subject of parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for being the perfect parent. You will make mistakes. It’s just a fact. But, you will also do many things right. You will learn many lessons as a parent, so, be open to the process.  In parenting, you will learn to rediscover through your child’s eyes the innocence, the awe and the wonder of this world. You’ll also find that there are often times you have to:  eat our own words, apologize, be firm (though you may want to do the opposite), let go (as they grow), be supportive (even when you don’t agree), and spend thankless hours cooking, cleaning, driving (chauffeuring), nursing sickness, consoling hurt feelings or broken hearts, and so much more.  You will at times be too hard on your kids, and at times too soft (enabling).  It takes a while to find a balance.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  At times, you will be underappreciated and overly stressed. You’ll wonder how you will make it through certain situations, but, hang in there.  Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

In their teen years, you may wonder what ‘alien being’ snatched your little love muffin and replaced them with a ‘meany-pants’ that you may often want to run and tackle for being mouthy or attitudinal. In these years you will re-learn what it is to love them unconditionally.  They will need that love (even if they act like they don’t). I promise your love muffin will return…but it will take some time, so, hunker down and gather reinforcements (i.e. other parents who can relate, fun hobbies to reduce stress, counseling, etc.) as you weather the teen years.  If you are fortunate enough to have an uncommonly pleasant teen, count your blessings and know that is not the norm. Lol. Teen years are an onslaught of hormones they’re trying to figure out how to manage, plus they’re learning how to assert their independence.  This is the season when much negotiating will go on.  Stand firm on some things, be more lenient on others.  Pick your battles.  Slowly begin to allow them to be independent people to begin to prepare them for young adulthood.

Lastly, sometimes there will be hurt or offense or misunderstanding between you and your children during this parenting journey.  But, there will also be opportunities to mend fences, apologize, talk, heal.  Take those opportunities! Do not let them pass by.  Your children will need you differently at different phases of their lives, but, they still need you.  Here’s to parenthood.  Much love!

~ Kay Dee

copyright 2018, ‘Ode to Parenting’ by Kay Dee for Life Together with Kaydee / and @i.am.kaydee IG

images: pixabay

Compassion, Love and Survival

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Let me preface this by saying I am not familiar with  fantasy or sci-fi fiction, nor thrillers because they’re not my fiction of choice. Nor am I familiar the author who is featured in this piece.  However, I can say, that it was my pleasure to glean from this interview that I listened to featuring him and two of his biggest fans.  It really touched my heart.

Compassion, Love and Survival by K.D.

I was listening to a link that a friend posted yesterday on Facebook (thanks Chi-Chi) and the true story that was told of a 15-year-old boy who ran away to meet his idol. This teen was something of an outcast in school, the product of a divorced home, his mom was remarried and his step-dad was not the best person. So, he read fantasy/sci-fi/thriller type books to escape his reality.  One particular author (Piers Anthony) was his favorite. He read every drop of everything this man wrote. He identified with Piers and the works he created. He felt so disconnected from his own reality that, in his 15-year-old mind, he desired to create a new reality…one with Piers in it.

He proceeded to withdraw his savings from the bank, buy a plane ticket and flew to Florida, all in pursuit of his desired new life.  His mission was to find where Piers Anthony lived and hopefully be asked to live with him and his family. He sent a postcard to his mom telling her he had to leave for a while but not to worry, he’d be back in a year or so because he had to figure some things out.  Once in Florida he went through various steps to find Mr. Anthony’s house and he did find it.  Mr. Anthony, surprised at the intrusion,  invited him in, listened to this young man’s troubles, and allowed him to spend the night.  He advised the young man that he could not live with him, but, he could try to help him find either local help for runaways or help him return back home.  The young man chose the latter.  After returning home, things didn’t necessarily get any better. But, because he’d had this encounter with his favorite author and because he was listened to, it changed something inside of him. He endured and conquered his teen years and successfully entered adulthood.

From a mom’s perspective hearing this, I could totally empathize with the shock his mom must’ve felt, because I would absolutely, positively FREAK OUT (as any loving parent would) not knowing where my kid was. Once you become a parent, your life is not about you anymore. You care for  these new human beings selflessly, above your own needs and desires. You hope so much for them. You desire for them to be successful and happy and fulfilled. And you ALWAYS want them to be safe and to protect them from as much harm in the world as possible.  Thankfully, this child was unharmed in his journey and was able to find what he was looking for, at least in part.

During this interview, a call was arranged so that this now adult man could call Piers Anthony to thank him for the impact he’d made on him all of those years ago. Piers remembered the whole encounter and he said a few things that really stuck out to me.

1. Piers Anthony spoke of his own struggles as a teen in a posh private school (where there were “upper crust” and “lower crust” students). He was ‘lower crust’ by his own account. He, too, had troubles at home and didn’t fit in at school. He was made fun of and made to feel strange, not good enough, etc. As the interviewer said of the author, “He was just an angry kid who muddled through like everyone else.” Piers Anthony, too, turned to reading books to escape his reality.  He said, “People sneer at escapism. Well…there are those of us who need it [to survive]” (addition mine).  Specifically, to survive the TEEN YEARS, in my opinion.  Teen years are a very tumultuous time.  They are years where we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we should be. We’re trying to survive social pressures and attitudes. We’re trying to find where we fit in.  When you’re a ‘nerd’ or an ‘outcast’ or ‘invisible’ (i.e. not in the popular crowd), life in high school can be very, very difficult.  Add to that problems at home.  But, I submit to you that there are even those teens who are in the “popular crowd” who feel out-of-place due to insecurity and rejection and so forth.  They cover it up by the business of being ‘popular’ or ‘over the top’. If they put on an act of confidence, then people won’t see their insecurities or weaknesses.  The sad part is when they choose use their popularity to demean others who are less so.  Or when they soothe their own insecurities by making themselves look bigger or better, while making others look smaller or insignificant.

2. Piers Anthony gave the then 15-year-old kid this advice, “Keep your head down. Endure it and in a few years you can get out”, speaking of his stressful home life with his step-father.  This advice could very well have applied to his school experience as well.  It made me think of my children, who have their own challenges in relation to their academic experiences, the social aspects of school, etc.  But, also, my children have experienced the divorce of their parents. Not easy for any child. I, too, was the product of a divorced home.  I want to find a way to tell my children…things will get better…just keep pressing through.

3. This next statement meant the most to me. I could relate to it myself, for it validated some of my own feelings, and it gave me insight into what my teens (and teens in general) may be going through. It also gave me pause to think of the several adults I know who fit these descriptions – and gives me a bit more understanding and I daresay compassion for folks who may be somewhat abrasive.  Here is what Piers Anthony said in the author’s notes of his book Fractal Mode, “One thing you who had a secure or happy childhood should understand about those of us who did not…We who control our feelings , who avoid conflicts at all costs or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, compulsive, self-critical, workaholic, and above all survivors…We’re not that way from perversity and we cannot just ‘relax’ and ‘let it go’. We’ve learned to cope in ways you never had to.”

I have come to no solid conclusions after listening to this interview.  But, maybe that’s not necessary. I have, however, come away with compassion, insight and understanding.  Maybe you will also.  If you’d like to listen to the interview, see the link below.

Once this link opens to the webpage, click “launch player” to hear the interview:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/470/show-me-the-way

You are loved ♥

© 2013 Compassion, Love and Survival – KD Corner/K.D.

photo credit: tenchinodojo.be

Reaching Beyond Ourselves

Recently I heard a story of a young girl (15 years old) who committed suicide because she felt trapped by her past mistakes.  It had to do with content she posted when she was a bit younger – in ignorance – that followed and plagued her no matter where she went.  To add on to her struggles, she also had an unfortunate interaction with a young man who preyed on her naïveté and low self-esteem.  The boy had a girlfriend who beat up this young lady.  The result was that the school at large turned against her, telling her she was worthless and that she should end her life, which eventually she did.  She apparently left behind a youtube video chronicling her struggles and asking for help.  My heart broke for this young lady.  Yes, she made some foolish decisions, but, who of us hasn’t? The difference is that maybe your blunders (mercifully) didn’t have such a large audience.  So, we shouldn’t throw stones.  Instead we should have compassion.  And if you cannot personally relate, then think of your kids, nephews, nieces, god-children, grandkids, neighbors, friends, etc. These kids matter and they are our future. 

I shared the story of this young lady with someone of that age group, who quickly informed me that there are many similar videos on the web, some of which I viewed.  There are so many young people who have been bullied, verbally abused and publicly or privately humiliated/berated on a consistent basis.  This hurts my heart.  I do not understand people (no matter what the age) who want to hurt other people.  How can people treat others so cruelly?  Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” obviously didn’t realize the falsehood of this statement.  Words CAN & DO hurt.  But what can be done?  I wanted to reach through the screen of each of those videos and tell each of those kids how special & important they are!  That they DO matter and they have lots to offer!

We don’t realize the power we have within our reach to positively influence someone else.  Maybe just a word from you makes the difference in someone’s life for the better.  Maybe if we start spreading more genuine kindness and care for our fellow-man, we can counteract all of the hate and poison that is spewed out by the negative people of this world.  I heard about a young man who uses his Twitter account to say nothing but positive and encouraging things and that he has tons of followers!  Sounds like there are a lot of people out there who need those words of hope … words that build up instead of tear down.

Maybe you don’t have a master plan or even a large platform from which you can effect change worldwide, but you don’t have to.  There are people all around you every day with whom you come in contact.  Start there.  No, not everyone may not appreciate your random acts of kindness, but, keep on sharing and caring.  It WILL make a positive difference in this and the next generation.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net