Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thawing a frozen heart

In the classroom, we aim to reach and teach every student.  Most students want to please, many students will try, and some students have so much going on in their personal lives, that education is not a high priority.  Whatever the situation, teaching is easier when you have some kind of buy-in.  The few with frozen hearts often fall through the cracks.

On the way home from a family trip, we watched
"Frozen," and I realized that frozen hearts are too common.  Many have analyzed the theme of the movie, most falling into the category of sibling love (a far-reaching theme of hetero- vs. homo-sexuality was..interesting; read more here).

What I keep wondering is how different the movie (and themes) would be if the siblings were brothers.  How often do we get to see the sensitive side of boys?  How do little boys deal with being shut out?

"Do you wanna build a snowman?  C'mon, let's go and play.  I never see you anymore; come out the door.  It's like you've gone away.  We used to be best buddies, and now we're not.  I wish you would tell me why.  It doesn't have to be a snowman.  (Go away, Anna.) Okay, bye."

Now, imagine a little boy singing this. (Jason told me lyrics, while Jesse sang along.)  Even with boys, the many girly Disney tunes are sung in our house (lol).

Siblings have a very unique bond, and only in fiction are there perfect families.  At a retreat group a lifetime ago, my sisters and I were in charge of a talk about family life.  I quoted Tupac, apparently, (I only knew/analyzed his lyrics in my adult life) when I said that it's "us against the world."  It felt like it to me; we were our playmates after school, weekends, parties, celebrations...  My extended family is so large that cousins/siblings became our first friends.  These parties, hang-outs, birthdays, milestones, etc. would not have less than 30 people involved.  On the other hand, my husband's blood relatives lived in so many places that the neighborhood kids were the 'family friends' who partied, hung out together.  A newer example I encountered was alternating years of birthday celebrations: even years are with family, odd years with friends.  Regardless of who is considered family, the bonds are what make "different flowers from the same garden."

Take Google's circles, or any social media site.  We categorize the people in our lives "family" or "friends."  I guess sometimes they blend, but we are forced to choose.  These categories are not set in stone.  We can choose to "unfriend" or "unfollow" someone when we feel like it.  We can choose to not hang out or not call back in the real world.  Whichever the circumstances, life sometimes gives us pieces of ice that end up freezing our hearts.  Some people in our circles can help us deal with these, but ultimately we have a choice (as in "Frozen") to move forward and thaw these frozen hearts.

How do I make sure that I'm not causing an icicle in the boys' hearts?  An observant non-parent said, "any little thing you say or do may potentially have a profound impact on your child."  Kids definitely take in everything around them, especially during the toddler years.  An author on the Huffington Post gets it.  So many times I find myself losing my patience or saying or doing something without thinking about how it'll affect the boys.  Example, everything on Facebook shows off the side that we want to be seen.  Watch this video (that I did not post on FB or IG):
Great job, little one!  But in the background, Jason is frustrated that I'm not paying attention to him.   I meant to tell him that I'll listen to him, I meant to tell him that I'm proud that he's reading, I meant to tell him that I can record him, too.  But I went on recording his brother.  He may keep this icicle and think that we favor the 'baby' of the family.  I want to start making sure that he knows that we love the both of them.  That sometimes his jealousness is unnecessary.  That he is special and unique on his own.  And his brother is, too.  I want to make him see that we are trying to treat them fairly, and fair doesn't necessarily mean the same.  We don't purposely try to do wrong, but some ice may unintentionally form.

I'm hoping that the boys end up with bond that sticks.  I know they won't come to us for everything, but maybe, just maybe, they can go through their world with each other.  However the ice may form, work it out, talk it through, experience life together.  Instead of hiding/isolating frozen hearts, I hope they have each other to bury "boys will be boys."

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