THE DIFFICULTY OF PASSION
After more meetings, the family has decided unanimously: Michael will attend Sonoma Academy! Yay.
We discussed what he should expect from high school. After a lot of discussion, I then gave him my "homework" -- not to get straight As or other logical things that one might say about school. I suggested that he should try to find a "passion" -- something he really wants to do rather than (as has been his life to date) something that he does because rules or other people tell him to do such.
As my example, I said I found poetry to be my passion. And I observed that having that passion makes all the difference in being happy or not -- that nothing can permanently get me down as long as I have poetry.
What I didn't tell him was that it look me until 35 years to find poetry. And that, yes, I was frequently unhappy in my pre-poetry life. Frequently. Unhappy. Without that passion to fall back to.
It's an old saw about how one parents a child based on lessons learned from being parented. Like, I wish my parents discussed the passionate avocation with me when I was growing up. But they, too, were focused mostly on our family surviving as immigrants.
Survival is a lousy way to determine one's life. Passion is what alchemizes existence into living. I don't see passion addressed as much in the parenting conversations I happen to stumble across -- but it shouldn't take poetry (though of course poetry can effect this) to make passion be part of a parent's goal for a child.