Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What Do I Make?



What do I Make?
a poem inspired by Taylor Mali's What Teachers Make


I helped make my children.
But I aside from that, I haven’t been able to make
them do or be anything since
--at least with any measure of success.


Have you ever tried making a four-year-old clean his room?  


By the time I had raised all three of my children,
I had tried every “loving and il-logical” way imaginable:
manipulation,
indulgence,
coercion,
bribery,
punishment,
reward,
over-positive reinforcement,
conditioning,
and my all-time worst mothering method--i-Robot,
in which I stood behind my second son,
his wrists in my hands,
and forcefully bent him over,
not allowing him to come up
until he had a toy in his grasp,
so we could walk it to the closet
and put it away in its "proper" place.  


We both cried that day.
And I remember realizing
(much sooner than most parents, I believe)
that I cannot make my children do or be anything.  
I can teach.
I can expect,
I can lead,
I can hope,
I can allow,
I can encourage,
I can champion,
I can ignore,
I can praise,
I can love.


So I did.


Then, I sat back and watched as they became  
a dancer,
a musician,
a runner,
a singer,
a missionary,
an orator,
a listener,
a loving sibling,
a writer,
a funny girl,
and most importantly,
my children became exactly who they were meant to be
--not out of force or manipulation or because
“You’ll be a nerd if you don’t make the basketball team like Mom did.”  


And, because I was a coach more so than a creator,
I do not mistakenly take the credit for who my children have become.


I now sit in a seat of satisfaction
and honor the beautiful, imperfect human beings they are
--people who any other beautiful, imperfect human being
will benefit from knowing and loving.





1 comment:

RilleneN said...

Your worth is above rubies.