Archive for July 28th, 2015

July 28, 2015

Four reasons I enjoyed “To Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee

by Rod Smith

1. Unlike “To Kill a Mockingbird” it’s a very quick and easy read. If you are very familiar with the Mockingbird it is somewhat of a joy to meet the characters (a few at least) later in life. Yes, I know, it was written earlier. I was very disappointed that there is very little of Jem and Dill, and nothing of several outstanding characters who I will not name given some who will read this may still want to read the novel. Perhaps they’ve not yet been “invented” by the time Harper Lee finished ‘Watchman” and then started “Mockingbird.”

2. “Watchman” allowed me to identify in ways with both Lee and Atticus. I had not been able to do this before. Both are superhuman in Mockingbird. In “Watchman” she’s an imperfect writer and Atticus is a flawed man. I found this comforting.

3. I LOVED the portrayal of the struggles the adult Scout has in visiting home from New York. Her Aunt, Uncle Jack, and Atticus – especially her aunt – have ways of tugging on her that she thought were long gone with her childhood. Their hold on her stupefies the adult Scout. The author clearly knows how difficult it is to go home. I was chuckling out loud at Harper Lee’s fine and humorous understanding and portrayal of the intricacies and difficulties of family process.

4. Jeanne Louise Finch has to do what we all have to do to become fully adult – perhaps separate for a while; make up our own minds about important matters; even reject our beginnings (although I believe this is far from essential). By the end of the novel she achieves it. Her journey is not pretty; her process is painful. Yet, it seems that despite her challenging manner and despite the conflicts that rage within her, her family accepts the necessary transitions and stands by her as she does what she has to do to become fully adult.

July 28, 2015

Mothering Ends

by Rod Smith

“My son (23) seldom talks to me anymore. We used to be very close in his young years. He’s cut me out and it is very painful for me. He talks a little to my husband but it doesn’t seem to bother my husband too much. How do I get him to trust me again?”

Mothering ends.

Yes, you will be his mother forever but the acts of mothering him have ended – he’s apparently made that decision.

When the mother (or the father) needs to provide mothering (or fathering) more than the adult son or daughter wants or needs, there is a problem (for the parent).

Your adult son and everything about his future is in his hands.

It will be a good thing for him (and you) if he included you in his circle but he has clearly decided he needs more space than you were ready for.

This is one of the essential reasons I have encouraged parents to have a full life OUTSIDE of their babies and children from DAY ONE.

This said, I believe your son will return and include you in his life – once he’s shown himself that he is capable of designing his life on his own.