performance rejection

He does not perform. The thought occurs to me as I walk by my eight-year-old working diligently on his current project. He is making an Angry Birds Space encyclopedia.

Just before this ah-hah descends on me, I am grumbling in my head. Why doesn’t he work this hard on school projects? This is what I mean when I say give 100%. I know he has it in him, why doesn’t he use this motor more?

Because unlike his mother, my son is NOT a type-A personality. He is a good-enougher. He is an I’m-not-defined-by-my-performance kind of guy. He is someone who enjoys life and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

And I love that about him more than I can say. Even though I go crazy over it from time to time. This beautiful freedom he lives in rubs against my performance-driven, rule-following, live-up-to-all-expectations nature.

And that is SO GOOD for me.

As this new revelation about my son and how he ticks sinks in, I swell with admiration. He puts his heart and soul into the things he determines are worthy of such priceless energy.

Not into what will score points with his teacher, the people around him, or even his mother. He will not do things just to look good in the eyes of another. He will not perform.

He does, however, have much heart and soul to pour into things. And he does use that energy from time to time. On projects that matter to him.

This is all very helpful for me to consider. Because as his mother, I need to help equip him to navigate through this world. And to not loose himself in the process.

There are times when he will have to harness this energy even though he doesn’t want to because that is what his life requires of him at the given moment. But those times are probably fewer and farther between than I as his mother think they are.

Yet at the same time, how wonderful for him to know with such certainty that his life cannot be lived to please others. He must be true to himself. How does he know such a thing at this tender age?

I marvel at moments like these. I think I am helping my children discover pieces of themselves and figure out where they go. And then they hand me pieces of myself that have been missing all my life. 

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