I have just emerged from an argument with my 17 year old, and as every parent knows, handling a teenager is very complex and precarious jugglery. I have learnt to go in with two clear assumptions – I am not going to have the last word, and, positive results, if any, will be seen only in the long term. Often times I wish, the stork while delivering him had brought along a clear user manual and an even clearer statement of work (SOW).
Think about it. Imagine if when your baby was first laid into your arms, he came accompanied with a nice parchment (I’m assuming if it’s from God it will be a parchment or a scroll) that enlisted, preferably in a neat numbered list, the set of tasks that were expected of the parent.
This is the scope of work, this is what you need to do, this is all you need to do, this is how you will do it, these are the exclusions, and these are all the risks(with probability) that you need to be prepared to mitigate, and most importantly this is the risk escalation plan, and this is the timeline.
But no, instead what we get is a vague, so…
So… here is a baby, it’s your responsibility to make him into a happy, healthy, good and successful human being, and maybe something more. You get to be his caregiver, maid, driver, teacher, financier, friend, foe, sounding board, dart board, and maybe something more.
And as if the stress of the ambiguous yet lofty deliverables weren’t enough, your baby comes with a set of warnings.
Remember, as you sow, so shall you reap. She who sows the wind will harvest the storm. Sow a thought and reap an action, sow an action and reap a habit, sow a habit and reap a character, sow a character and reap a destiny.
Can you hear the alarm bells ring? I know I can.
But despite the fears of failing as a mother, or perhaps in spite of it, we persist, prevail, and do the best we can. I can’t remember the exact quote or even who said it, but the jist of it was this. No matter how much I try to protect him, someday someone is going to push my child off the cliff, and I may not be there to catch him. All that I can do is to sew some nets to cushion his fall. So I can sit around worrying and moping, or I can get to work sewing those nets.
Even without that Statement of Work.
Triggered by this week’s Stream of Consciousness prompt so/sow/sew.
Image credit: Mother and Child pencil drawing by carpetmoss.wordpress.com