Thursday, February 22, 2007

Easy Solutions

I like to think we make life far too complex. I like to think there is a simple solution for everything. And so, in recent days and weeks with the ongoing saga on the news of Brittany and Anna Nicole, I became embedded in thoughts about intervention in the lives of other young people who may end up losing their way like these two. And to myself I thought, “There just has to be a simple thing that has escaped us all that can prevent these sordid things from happening.”

Maybe it all boils down to simply encouraging young people to ‘love themselves’. That is, once the definition is fully clarified. I say that because I misinterpreted that bit of advice for more than a decade. I thought it meant having support for all my personal endeavors, having the latest fashionable clothes, a professional do, a fitness membership, and time to luxuriate in a foaming bath with perfumed candles. But I found that interpretation did not fit with my obligations as a wife, a mother, and the nurturing needs of those around me. My first faltering steps in living up to this mandate brought only conflict with those dearest to me.

And so, upon contemplating what was happening, I came to the realization that marriage is about frequent self-sacrifice and raising children is about daily self-sacrifice. And when I let myself ‘fall off the wagon’ things radically improved. I began to understand about loving myself when I started facing each day with the question, “What can I personally do to make things better?”

It worked so well not only for me, but for my boss at work, my Hub, neighbors, close friends, and my children that I became convinced that this must be the proper interpretation of the new approach-to-life policy about loving ones-self. It certainly worked like magic once I got rutted in the grove.

So now, moving on, what can we do with young people careening down the same disastrous road that so many of the celebs find themselves on? “It’s simple. So simple,” I thought. In adolescence we need to give them a clearer understanding of what it means to ‘love themselves’. That this does not refer to the latest most fashionable goods but rather to being the best kind of person they can be today and a better person than that tomorrow.

For instance, – Teen waking up today and thinking about last night’s party. And thinking, ‘Eww – skull cramp – guess I drank too much last night. I won’t be doing that again. And today I feel like such a fool for dancing on the table. I’ll not do that again either.

And so with this kind of thinking upheld, here are two steps made toward young person become a better and more responsible person. How simple is that?

I really thought I was on a roll at this point and more than a little anxious to share my new-found method of gradual healing of the lost with ED (Eldest Daughter).

In two seconds flat, ED shut down that grandiose theory. “You’re too easy forgetting the competitive spirit of young people trapped in a culture of semi-developed brains where only peer approval counts”, she said. “And you’re also forgetting that young people do not only dress the same, they think the same. Sure Teen will wake up the next day and reflect on yesterday’s frolic. Only you’re dreaming if you think it will be with regret. This is what she will think…”

“Oh, I had such a grand time last night. Drank more than anyone and didn’t even puke. I was definitely the sexiest girl there. My skirt was the shortest. And I’m so glad I was bold enough to dance on the table. That showed my sexy bod off to the fullest extent.”

Well, that sure shot that theory full of holes. Oh well. Back to routing out another problem in today’s world, that I can fix with a really, really simple solution.


susan said...

Boy, I was about to argue with you until I read on further and tend to agree. My reticence was due to a generation of "everybody is a star", everybody is "special" and you've covered that. It led to a dysfunction call Entitlement for many who awoke to the real world in a hurry after college.

I still think that your theory is sound, but I might add to it by teaching youth to respect themselves--and just as important, others. Love is one thing, but you can dilike someone and still respect him. Respect, to me, is of the greatest importance.

BTW, your blog helps others, brings joy and understanding. So you're doing something already!

susan @ spinning

Matty said...

I have to agree with everything you said. I look at Anna Nicole and all I see is a girl who was so desperate to be her mom and every guy she met,,,,and you could easily see that never happened. I cringe when I hear her called a 'cash cow'! How can a mother possibly be jealous of her daughter? How can she be raised thinking that looks are everything? What a sad, sorry, short life she had.
That poor, poor girl so anxious to be loved, so anxious to be the next Marilyn Monroe,,,,,and she made it, didn't she?

Roberta S said...

Profound thoughts, susan particularly your comment about "a dysfunction called 'Entitlement'".

Also I really like the thought you expressed that we can dislike someone and still respect them. I don't know if my theory is sound but I can only see good things coming from respecting ourselves as well as others. Thank you for the added encouragement. I do have days when I really need that.

Roberta S said...

matty, when this Anna Nicole thing started I watched the part about the weird death of her son but without much emotion. But now I find such serious sadness in all of it. And obviously from your comment, you too, are feeling the extreme sadness I am feeling.

I hope whatever happens now will be 'just' and quickly concluded but somehow I don't think that is going to be the case.