For me, going with the flow is not a show of weakness, although that is what I used to believe. Blood flows through my veins, water flows through rivers, lakes and oceans and air flows through everything. It seems to be the natural order of things. When that flow is blocked, bad things happen. If I am in a good place emotionally, I am flowing. If I am trying so hard to control the outcome of my world, I meet all sorts of resistance and I am unhappy. I can only be of service, or of value to those around me if I am content myself. So, I try to go with the flow.
I used to be a person who was very open minded, liberal, progressive, intellectual and strong! At least that is how I saw myself. I would tell you my views on social justice, the oppressed and the environment and unless you thought exactly as I did I would chastise you for your belief systems. Women were to be strong, intellectual, science and math oriented. No frills, no makeup, no vulnerability and no weakness. These dance moms, ugh. What could they possibly be teaching their girls? My daughter was going to play sports, be strong, get straight A’s and be a well trained professional. I thought she could pick out her own profession, as long as it fit in my list of acceptable careers.
Then I had Madeline. She taught me that even trying to control the outcome of a child is futile. I put her in activity after activity trying to find her niche. A friend of mine called one day and said there is a dance studio three blocks from my house. Let’s put our five year olds in a dance class. They have a cute little recital at the end of the year. I thought, oh what the heck, it’s not like she will do well in that arena! At the end of the year, I saw her on stage for the first time and had mixed feelings of horror and excitement. Two of the other moms looked at me with surprise. Madeline was truly happy. She was clearly in her element. Her face shone like a beacon, all smiles and pizzazz.
I was not ready to allow her to flow and for the next four years I placed her in basketball, t-ball, horse camps and other activities. With each of my choices she was unhappy, and I was frustrated. I would make her finish the season and try something else the next season. Dance was the only thing she returned to willingly. Finally, I let her loose. She auditioned for the local school for the arts and the competition team. She chose drama and music in academics and danced outside of school on the competition team. I was not only a dance mom, but a fully invested show mom. I have learned that the flow of a person’s life is more important than my opinion of it.
I found that there were many areas of my life where my opinions were judgmental and through the process of raising my artistically minded child, I have learned true open mindedness. I no longer try to control what you think. I try to learn what you have learned and reserve judgment for those more qualified than I. I am not perfect in this arena, but when I have agitation, it is almost always because I am trying to control the outcome of a situation.
Ironically, I have been surrounded by powerful fascinating girls with drive and passion in an arena that I dubbed as weak and superfluous. This education has seeped into all aspects of my life. Now I flow. I hear opinions of others even when they differ significantly from mine. I don’t know as much as I used to…. but because I flow, sometimes I gain a little wisdom.
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