Monday, March 1, 2010

Presidents and Packs

It is almost dinner time, I am cooking, and Ben, my 7 year old and Bodee, almost 5 are playing with red clay at the family table, several feet from me. Bronson, 16 months, is padding about the kitchen in his bare feet. Ben and Bodee are chattering to eachother when I catch this part of their conversation:
"Bodee, if you do nice things for people, you could be President of America, you know, like Obama."
Bodee says with a sigh, "Naaaah, I don't want to be President of America, I want to be President of the Universe."
"No, Bodee you can't be President of the Universe." Ben says decidedly,and perhaps not wanting to hurt his little brother's feelings, he adds quickly, " Well, actually in your imagination you can."
"Well, ok I'll be President of America. I'll be a Daddy too."
"Yeah!" Ben says encouragingly " If you are a Daddy that's like being President of your own house. You can do that too!"
"Yeah, I'll be President of my own house too." Bodee says confidently.
"Yeah me too." Ben says excitedly.

I stir the potatoes and smile.
The me of my twenties, the Zen who was Xena the Warrior Princess for Halloween and stomped down Broadway in downtown Manhattan in a fake bear skin cape, with a shrill but triumphant war cry and fist in the air, would cringe and spit at the very thought of the man being THE President of the household. "NO, we should be EQUALS by all accounts" my warrior princess would growl.

Ceasar Millan from the Dog Whisperer, has had an impact on the perspective of that former twenty something year old. Watching a few of his shows and getting how it is the behavior of the leader of the pack that needs to change, has altered my current perspective. It is confusing for the children, or our "pack" to see two bickering "leaders of the pack" in the house at the same time. It is a child's natural drive to push the limits, to test the boundaries. They test the two leaders and see if they can divide and conquer. If there is one leader, they feel safe and can focus on play, growing and learning.

There was a moment when I got this, and saw how exhausted I have been from trying to be the leader of the pack, or at least co-leader ALL THE TIME. This results in cranky, screaming kids, a dishonored and withdrawn husband and me being frustrated and know, because we are humans, in a human family...that's just what happens sometimes.
That moment was freedom for me in my relationship with our "pack". I Get to Give Up being the leader of the pack when my husband is home. I can let go of control, I can breathe. I can trust he will take care of all of us....and our children can too.
That doesn't mean that I don't have opinions and input about how we parent, but each choice is a learning experience for us rather than a struggle. We are a team creating together rather than a pack of dogs fighting over turf.
As I imagine my sons as Presidents, I chuckle inside as it occurs to me that that is exactly why we created the names Ben, Bronson and Boden instead of Bodhi for our second son...Boden is distinguished and could easily, phonetically, be "President Boden". Solid.
I see that no matter what their names, they will be Presidents, of something, most definitely of their lives, because they say so, because they are leaders.

Zen Honeycutt

1 comment:

  1. Awesome article, Zen! Your boys are so wonderful, as to be expected from a mom like you. Fantastic!