Trying Hard and Letting Go

Something I’ve been mulling over: how do I work at something that takes up a lot of my time and mental energy, something I care a lot about, but not put ultimate hope in the results of my work?

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You think I’m talking about writing, but I’m talking about raising kids. My oldest is 17, now, and my baby is 14. So much of what I’ve prioritized in the last 17 years is stuff that can’t be measured. The trips to museums, the long talks and I’m sorry’s, the tears over math worksheets, the orchestra concerts and travel, have they made a difference in my kids’ lives?

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My kids are almost grown. They’re intellectually curious and kind. They’re beginning to know their place in in the world.

Still. How many of those traits would they have developed without focused effort on my part? Has what I worked for in the last 17 years mattered?

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Also, how do I let my kids fail (which is so important) and not feel it as my failure? How do I let go of the results of years of caring?

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Maybe this is one reason I write–because the joys and sorrows it brings, my various successes and failures, belong only to me.

 

*photos 1-3 taken by my oldest son

Are You A School Shooter? Am I?

The novel I’m working on involves a school shooting. As I wrap up the book, I find myself gloomy and depressed, and it takes me forever to figure out why.

Then I do.

I’ve immersed myself in a dark fictional world every day for the last several months. What’s worse, it isn’t a dystopian, that’ll-never-really-happen world. It’s a turn-on-the-news-for-the-latest-incident kind of place.

I educate my kids at home–partly because we lived abroad for a chunk of their childhoods, and it was easier to take school with us where ever we happened to be–but I have lots of friends with kids in public schools. My husband teaches in one. So do both of my parents.

School shootings affect me, too.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

One of the big themes in my book is whether nature or nurture has a bigger impact on who people become. Can we pass on certain violent traits to our kids? How can we know if we’re parenting a potential monster? Are there signs? Whose fault is it when a teenager does something horrific?

I’m a Christian. While I don’t write stereotypical Christian fiction, God figures in my fictional worlds because he looms large in MY world. When I open my Bible, I read the story of a broken, pain-soaked world. I see people hurting each other, shaking their fists at the sky while justifying their actions.

I believe everyone, including myself, is fundamentally messed up and in need of rescuing.

Still, what makes some people kill and not others?

These are some of the questions I’m asking. No wonder I’ve been feeling heavy.