A combination of misc details from around life recently…
We have Smurf glasses (think 80s McDonalds collectibles) and The Kid was asking about Smurfs.
One of the glasses features Handy Smurf which got me to thinking about how he was my favorite, and how I would pretend to be him when I was a kid, walking around with my invisible tool belt on and building invisible things. (This also gave me a little bit of insight about my kid playing similar solitary imaginative games. I had forgotten about doing this specifically.)
When I was in late elementary school, my parents put an addition onto the house. My grandfather did some of the work (mainly electrical, as I recall, but it was a long time ago), and I wanted to watch and/or help.
No. Girls don’t do that. (Which is weird, honestly, because my mom and her two sisters worked with him when they were kids.)
I did my science project that year on electrical circuits. (And got a mediocre grade on the presentation because I stood with my back to the class too much. The things that stick…)
What if those interests were cultivated?
(I would still love to be able to build things out of wood. And of course I would love to be able to change some of the questionable electrical at the house.)
A friend posted a lovely story about her kid on Facebook and said that the kid came like that (meaning it’s not her parenting that bestowed these good qualities in the kid).
My response was that while the kid might have shown up with those factory settings, as the parent, she has cultivated—or left space and given guidance for the child to cultivate—those qualities.
It seems that everyone has some spark in them that their parents or societal expectations have tried to extinguish, possibly have turned it into a point of shame. I know so many people who are working to own some piece of themselves that was consistently degraded. Something that they now always dismiss or second-guess or have that subtle constant underlying doubt or would love to do but “can’t.”
If you have no examples in our own life, you’re lucky!
Do a favor for the next generation.
Let them try. Let them explore. You never know where it will lead … even if it’s simply to an adult with less baggage.