Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The stove is hot

As I sit here enjoying the warmth of my cast iron stove I'm noticing the melted wax on the carpet and on the seat beneath me, the strange forms painted??? on the windows of the stove, and various other minor damages to my house caused by over-active pre-teens. At least two of these are easily handled with a hot iron and lots of newsprint -- a learning moment, n'est-ce pas?

Over the past couple of weeks a spurt of uncontroled anger by one has broken the ancient brass door knob on his door, and the corner of a table (his parents, I believe, are now aiming to repair and replace said items). My elder girl had a major tiff at school and has been grounded for two days. Flying off the handle, out of control emotions, losing it in front of teachers and others, taking everything to the utmost limit and feeling justified to physically react and respond to any and all insults or frustrations... Isn't this what growing up is all about? Getting ahold of yourself? Learning to master your feelings so that they are not master of you? Allowing yourself to feel, not denying, but, not over-reacting either?

Their parents deal with them as they choose. In both cases they are making efforts to be attentive. I'm the outside parental influence, the one that has them living with me, but who doesn't have the emotional connection. Am I non-biased? No, I can't admit to that. But I can hope to teach them some elements of simple human behavior -- or at least what I find to be useful and best adapted to coping in this world. In general, slamming doors, breaking walls, bursting into tears, freaking out, haven't proved successful operating procedures for me. But then again, I rarely cry, and have struggled to be calm and to let things pass from early childhood. Anger rarely got me anything worthwhile, nor tears, so I learned my lesson, and aimed toward a more subtle mastery of manipulation. Ah, that is communication...

And life goes on. Perhaps I'll get the Christmas decorations out today?

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