>Eyes on the Prize
March 19, 2010 § Leave a comment
Yesterday I suffered through my second set of Parent-Teacher Conferences. This day surpassed the first round in the category of horrible family encounters. Actually, there was only one horrible family encounter, but it was enough to make me cry uncontrollably when I finally arrived home in the evening. I’ve put up with a lot of abuse at school and this week was no exception.
The past is behind me and I’m thankful for that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a quote from a great article in the New York Times Book Review, which states, “Anything processed by memory is fiction.” A mother who came to see me yesterday (one of the ones who is not horrible, but is a mess), was talking about her daughter, who is in 7th grade. This little girl has been through a great deal of difficult circumstances including losing her father and watching her mother suffer and eventually recover from drug/alcohol abuse. Anyway, her mother told me that her daughter has a lot of “anger issues”. According to her mom, the problem is the way her daughter perceives things. She mentioned several times that her daughter’s perceptions are wrong. She tries to tell her daughter this, which only angers the little girl more. I mentioned that we all see and experience reality in our own way.
I was thinking about how disempowering it is to take away this little girl’s memories and thoughts, or at least to discount them. These ideas are real for her. We all tell stories and create fictions in order to process and understand deeper truths. Fiction is not untrue. Underneath the surface story, when fiction is “honest,” it is absolutely truth. If anything, this encounter with the mother made me realize how crucial it is for me to validate her daughter’s experience of the world.
Next week, we spend the school days leading community service trips. In two weeks, I’m on Spring Break.