Why I don’t want my daughter to go to a Black Eyed Peas concert.
I want to get honest. I admit my tendency to “control.” It’s about fear. I am scared that my innocent, precious little girl will actually grow up and learn about the pain in this world, the pain that has touched me, that has undoubtedly touched so many of us. Maybe its instinct gone awry. As her father, I want to protect her, shield her, never see that spark of wonder leave her brilliant eyes. But who am I to do that? If I am acting out of my own fears, I am doing it for completely selfish reasons. If I can stop her from learning about sex, or swear words, or violence, misogyny, terror, hate, racism, drugs, addiction, abuse, rape, suffering, and so much more, I can somehow save her. But it is really me I want to save.
I know I know I know… I have to let her go. I have to release her into this world and allow her to be herself. “But not yet” I scream inside. She’s too young, she’s only 11! She should know nothing of Sept 11, she shouldn’t know of war or suicide or genocide. Not until she’s 16. Or maybe 21. How about 30.
Every day I walk this unschooling path is another day of encountering myself. Facing what I hate about myself, facing the foundation of my fears. It comes up when I feel the resistance. Then I see my chance to right all the wrongs done to me, and I turn to my children. No, I can’t use them for that. They can not be my redeemers, and I can not be their savior.
But why does it hurt so much? To let go? My wife knows the “look” all too well. When something comes on the TV, I look at her with the “change the channel” look, or the “why are you letting her watch this are you crazy” look. I mean, isn’t my wife supposed to be with me on this?
We all like the main-stream Black Eyed Peas songs, but I don’t think any of us has heard much more of their stuff. They let the s**t and f**k words fly. Will my daughter start saying “f**k” every time she drops something, in the same self-punishing way that I sometimes do (I never swear around my kids, mostly at work). I don’t want her to hate herself for dropping something.
Listen to me! OMG the control! I have no control over whether she hates herself! What I can control is me (and even that has its limits). Control IS an illusion. It keeps me in a false world, one that *I* create. In that world, I know what’s coming next. In that world, I can keep the pain away.
I’m unlearning 40 years of doing it the way I’ve been doing it. Maybe during the next 40 years, I’ll have unlearned all of it, so I can start fresh. By then, my kids will have kids (or not), and I’ll have fully embraced the gift of letting go. Until then, I’ll keep taking the steps. Things like this concert might just end up being my unteachers. And who knows, maybe it won’t take 40 years to unlearn.
Thanks for letting me get this out.
Fear is never about what is, and always about what isn’t