Every time I give Amy a haircut — other than trimming her bangs — I regret it. I think I’m getting a little better, but — her hair has just enough wave to be challenging, in addition to the usual wiggly toddler challenge. That, and this time, there’s the real bangs, the former overly-full bangs grown-out to ear length, and then what to do — trim an inch off the back, or try to curve the back toward the grown-out old bangs, or even try to extinguish the distinction between new bangs, old bangs, and the rest?
I just tried taking off two inches straight across the back. I clipped up the hair in sections, letting down just a little at a time, trimming oh-so-carefully. But still — that wave, and the problem of angle and trying to get the new section really lined up with the section underneath. And then, looking at the sides — dare I? I dared — I cut a bit of a curve toward those old bangs.
I’m not really sure if it’s even. I want to see what it looks like after a shampoo. And I’m rather mortified to realize that the new cut looks a lot like her beloved Ms. Shaina’s style. I hope she won’t think we did that on purpose.
I was just thinking this afternoon, while doing the dishes, how somewhat awkward it is when the people I’m friends with are not friends with each other, or how people I’m friends with are friends with people who are not friends with me. I know, I know, it’s normal and fine and typical and all that, and everyone can’t be friends with everyone else. And yet sometimes I wonder — why is it that someone I’m friends with is also friends with someone I wouldn’t get along with at all, or why is it that someone is friends with my friend, but not with me, even though I think I’m a lot like my friend. It would be interesting to see God’s Venn diagrams for the personalities and see where the overlaps are and are not.
Rhetoric is, among other things, about the art of persuasion.
I want to persuade Amy to become the kind of person who can consider another’s point of view, take turns, stand up for herself, stand up for others, sacrifice lovingly, receive love comfortably, know what she wants and pursue it, take “no” graciously, and many other such things.
I also want to persuade her to obey me immediately without argument, yelling, or whining.
And I want her to develop emotional literacy — to be able to feel her feelings, not avoiding or stuffing or trying to go around them; to be able to choose and execute appropriate expressions of those feelings; to use wisdom to know how and when and if to take action because of those feelings.
These last two goals sometimes seem to be in conflict, or at least it seems challenging to go about one without causing problems for the other.
For example, by emphasizing that it’s okay to be angry but not okay to yell, okay to not want to but not okay to argue about it, okay to be sad but not okay to whine — am I trying to remove something essential from those emotions? There are times when it is important to be able to have your emotion show in the way you talk — not all talk should be antiseptically calm and passionless.
(We do try to allow for appropriate expression other than calm words — you can go whine or cry in your room, you can punch your mattress or pillow…)
Likewise, by that emphasis, am I trying to remove something essential from obedience? It is better to obey cheerfully, with love of righteousness, than to obey grudgingly.
At this point, I don’t think this second potential error is as important at this age. It seems more important to me that she understands her feelings are hers and are okay no matter what they are. I think it takes a LOT of maturity to know when one’s feelings are not appropriate to the situation, to feel sorry about that without hopeless despair or resentful anger, but with confidence and gratitude that grace covers our falling short and promises to finish our sanctification.
I don’t want to raise a robot — unquestioning obedience is not the ultimate or only goal. And when I require obedience, I want to be sure I remain respectful.