I have a new addiction in my life and I’m confident that I’ll never be released from its tight clutches. I guess I should rephrase that—I pray that I will never be released from its tight clutches.
My newfound addiction is my granddaughter.
Not a moment passes that I don’t crave to see her brilliant, toothless smile. Not a day goes by that I don’t want to hold her close to me and just breathe her in. I tell my daughter constantly how blessed she is that she has a baby that never cries or fusses (except when she’s hungry—which is a trait that I think I passed down to her). I explain to her that there is enough negative in this world—and there will be many challenges while raising her—that she is fortunate to have such a positive experience so far. I pray daily that we can collectively keep the natural joy that she carries within her alive and well. As we all know, it takes a village to raise a child—but what kind of village do we live in these days?
Looking at this little girl reminds me of a talk that I was humbled by many, many years ago. The speaker, Pam K., is a mentor to many and her spunky and infectious positive attitude always made me excited in anticipation of hearing what sage wisdom she had to share. On that particular day (almost twenty years ago), Pam wore a beautifully tailored cream-coloured suit with gorgeous black detailing on the cuffs. (I remember this clearly because I doodled it in my notebook.) Her topic was focused on how day-to-day influences affect our children.
Pam had a large pitcher of water beside the podium and she pointed to it and said that it represented the pure soul that each of our children is born with. As she spoke about the negative influences of our society, she rolled up her sleeve, reached under the table beside the podium where the pitcher sat, and grabbed a handful of an unknown substance. She plunged her hand into the water and released what she was holding. It was dirt. As she swirled the dirt in the water she kept talking about how we sully our children’s pure souls.
She listed many examples of how we taint children’s souls. Things like discouraging words, violent or sexual images on television, foul language, vindictive behavior, and so many other examples. With each example, she added another handful of dirt into the pitcher, and tears began to flow down my cheeks.
Pam did this over and over again until the water was a dark, disgusting brown sludge. I began sobbing uncontrollably at the understanding of what I was allowing myself, and society, to do to my beautiful, innocent daughter.
My husband knew that this would be my topic this week and sent me a poem that really ties in to my quest to keep my granddaughter’s soul pure: Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. I wish I could say that I was raised in a village that reinforced positive behaviour, but I was not. My village aired heavily on the negative aspects of destroying a tender psyche. But because of feeling beat down by the masses, I chose to be a pitbull mom when it came to people trying to rob my daughter of her positive attitude and high self-worth. I was not going to let the villagers bully her like they bullied me.
Unfortunately, I did not work hard enough to keep my daughter’s soul crystal clear and the memory of Pam K’s talk haunts me to this day. I didn’t fight for my daughter the way I should have. I wasn’t the lioness that a mother is supposed to be. So now, she has been tainted by so much that she must work hard to become a better woman—a better mother.
What happened then? How did it fall by the wayside?
I only have myself to blame, because I allowed two of the village idiots to be the main influences in my daughter’s life. I was so busy working two and three jobs to support us that I turned a blind eye to what was going on.
There are some village idiots in my granddaughter’s life already and I have cautioned my daughter against them. I remind her that she is the mother and that they must respect her title. It’s not to say that every choice she makes is going to be the best one, but I did raise her with enough strength and common sense to know what “garbage in, garbage out” means. It means that the negativity that seeps into her daughter’s eyes and ears will inevitably be what comes out of her mouth and taint the way she sees the world.
I have vowed to be a pitbull grandma, and have enlisted the services of some of the strongest villagers I know, to protect the soul of our newest little member of the community. It’s going to be a very tough road in this day and age, but I have a renewed strength to maintain the clarity of that little angel’s soul for as long as possible.