or instructions... which when not followed to parental satisfaction turn into rants.
And then there are things that we want them to listen to with Ninja Ears....
....tidbits of knowledge and wisdom (they're different, you know!) that are essential for living a productive, values-driven life.
Years ago in an akido class, I embraced the notion that in order to retain my balance, I must "feel my center". Planting feet at shoulder width, knees slightly flexed and weight evenly distributed, breathing slowly and deeply and all tuned in, I could feel my "core" - that solid, sturdy place of strength low in my abdomen. (We mothers know it has another name: uterus.)
Anyhow, the idea was that if we could remain in our "core" we couldn't be thrown, but if we leaned too far out from center, either while defending or initiating, we could easily be flipped for a loop. And it was true.
Not to brag, but my pre-Momster self was pretty unflippable.
Fast forward twenty years....
These days equilibrium is not my strong suite, but then, I'm pretty outnumbered. I could withstand almost any barrage while defending just myself, but trying to protect a restless nest-full who haven't fully learned where their own "center" is takes more focus, patience and strength than I can often muster. I push and push, even though the golden rule of akido is to use your opponent's own energy against them. While the post modern world circles, seemingly (to the Critters) innocuous, but (to me) trying to pull them off balance, my pushing against it only seems to make them lean further away. Hmmm....
Even Ralph Machio as "The Karate Kid" (Jaden Smith in the remake) and David Carradine as "Grasshopper" needed to become one with what lies within before they could kick any serious butt on their own. Not to promote their personal philosophies, but pondering how to keep my children centered, feet firmly planted, maybe I haven't fully demonstrated the importance of listening. Not to me, but to the truth that lies deep within each of us. Trying to reason and explain the "why" to the Critters before they've built up their own spiritual muscle is like expecting them to do that crouching heron thingy on a pylon without all the wax on/wax off moves --- well... sort of.
Somehow, I don't think either Pat Morita or Jackie Chan can help me with this one!
(Chuck Norris? Hmmm, maybe....)
When I flip out (Third Child's description, not mine) over the decaying values we're constantly bombarded with in the media (and on the street corner, for that matter), I'm not exactly displaying the kind of calm assurance and strength that ends with a dogpile of fallen foes at my feet. Admittedly, my own Ninja ears could use a tune up from time to time. But when I stand firm in what I believe in - with letters to the editor, actively taking part in rallies and campaigns for life, turning off that offending television show, reaching out to those in need, and living a joyful life despite hardship or frustration - those actions speak volumes.
As much as I wish I could, I can't pinpoint every danger for them either. And even more importantly, I can't always fight their fights. They will have to learn what truth is, and what's worth fighting for. But like my akido instructor did so many years ago, maybe I can help them find their core, to listen for and recognize it.
Hint: it speaks in a still, small voice....
Thanks to everyone who kept me in their thoughts and prayers. I'm on the mend, back at work, and sporting an interesting new belly-button for good measure!