Nothing Gold Can Stay

I was clicking through WordPress this morning on my way to post something for a client, when I came across Hoof Beats and Foot Prints most recent blog post. At the top were words from Robert Frost that will forever take me back in time.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

When I was just a kid, there was a pretty core group of us that hung out. And for the most part, it was a group of boys. I was never much of one to play with dolls, worry about getting dirty, I never cared to paint my nails, go to the mall, watch tv or gossip about what may or may not be going on with any of our other friends. In no way do I mean to stereotype here or be critical of others activities. At all. But it seemed when I had the opportunity to get together with friends that were girls, these were many of the options. I wasn’t interested. Neither was my best friend, Amy who lived just a few doors up the street.

I wanted to run through the woods, build forts, listen to heavy metal, play football, compete, prove to them I could be just as much one of the guys, at that age, as any of them. Which, in hindsight, I’m wondering if it didn’t drive my parents crazy. And Amy, hers. We have laughed a lot about it since.

Anyway, our group would get together often and watch movies. And in trying to hang tough with the guys, I watched more horror movies than I’ve collectively seen the rest of my entire adult life, my first porn flick, Porky’s repeatedly, countless few films and when those got old we’d throw in, The Outsiders. The film, and what a great film that was, would rile us up in that small town we grew up in and we’d run around like somehow we had the same angst happening in our own community. I had the lines nearly memorized. But nothing has stayed with me from that movie more than the poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.

fall leaves

I love this poem for so many reasons. But mostly because, every time I see or hear it, it takes me back. It reminds me of a much simpler time in my life and so many friends I’ve lost touch with but that will always hold an incredibly sweet place in my heart and soul. Friends who embraced me at one of the most awkward and challenging stages in my life when I was often made to feel like an outsider, because I didn’t fit the typical little girl mold. Of fall. Of the leaves turning. Of the home I used to live in and the big woods out back – that are full of memories – but that I now only get to drive by and wonder what sort of life the family that lives there now, has. Of just how much has changed since. How quickly the seasons of life pass us by ..

“No …”

It seems one of my daughter’s favorite words recently has become ‘no’.  Like, I’m not even sure sometimes she realizes she is saying it or that she could stop should she choose .. because no matter the consequence it just keeps blurting out of her mouth.

…………….

“Little said is soonest mended.” – George Wither

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Perhaps the above quote is why the stink eye my dad would shoot us .. even just the thought of him coming home and being told what we had done, was the fastest way for us to break out of whatever bad behavior we were exhibiting as children.  And instead of fights and punishment, we could all move on to throwing around the football together at the park next door, laughing and treating each other with respect .. or the chores we had been asked to do with no grumbling .. until mom called us in for dinner.

Back when I was a child …” I’ve found myself saying to my daughter more than a few times lately.

Boy I used to really get it for back talk.  Hand across the face.  The butt.  Grounded.  I think I have mentioned somewhere in all of these blog posts so far, I spent much of my young adult life alone in my room.  Grounded.  No radio.  Just me and myself.  Sitting there staring at my posters of C. Thomas Howell, Motley Crue and Ratt.  Come to think of it, it wasn’t all that bad.  Just kidding.  It stunk.  All that time alone in a room with nothing to do.  Plus, we had to walk 10 miles barefoot through the snow uphill both ways to get to my room, I’m pretty sure.  But I’m better for it now.

While all of that is running through my head as my own daughter pushes her limits, and I’m thinking, ‘what did she just say to me?’ ..

Externally, we work to find the appropriate tone of voice, the right volume, the right consequence and nip it in the bud.

But what is that anymore?  The right consequence?  Punishments many of us had, like spanking are just too cruel and controversial.  (Kitzie and Kellie, really?  Norwegian spanking paddle and bread board?  At least they had cooler names than ‘wooden spoon’, ‘the belt’ or ‘the hand’.)  A slap on the face, well that you just can’t do either anymore.  Soap in the mouth?  Do we question if that is still acceptable too?  I’m not saying do any of these things.  But I am saying, it seems more often than not we do little to nothing as a consequence for poor behavior out of fear its wrong – versus doing something.

And it seems because of this, there is growing concern we are raising a generation (if we haven’t already) of sassy, spoiled brats.  Is the the case?  I don’t know.  But I certainly am not wanting nor willing to add another to the mix.

How to solve?

It seems buying stock in soap is still a good idea based on answers to an informal little poll I took this evening.  Ivory, one of the more popular choices, at least from our parents generations.  And none of this liquid soap stuff.

Grab the bar and start chewing.

But besides setting a good example, having high expectations and not tolerating back talk from the get – go .. which I believe is easier said than done, we’ve all got to find that magic little ‘something’ that resonates as a consequence with our kids.  And make that work.

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There is a perpetual flow of new information (books, magazines, web articles, bloggers,  friends with opinions, counselors, etc) coming out that talks about what works, what doesn’t, how to handle .. what’s normal, what might be ok or what shouldn’t be tolerated and what will happen if you do.

A book I have heard many others reference as a good resource, including counselors and psychologists .. is called “Getting to Calm“.  I have the book and my dear child, in the event it may come in handy, I will save my copy for you.  🙂  For anyone else this might benefit, here’s the link.

http://www.gettingtocalm.com/

As I was perusing the web tonight quickly on the topic, found this page too which seems to offer some good thoughts, observations and action items.

http://josseybasseducation.com/uncategorized/back-talk-excerpt-from-the-big-book-of-parenting-solutions-101-answers-to-your-everyday-challenges-and-wildest-worries-by-michele-borba/

We hopefully all find a solution that fits, works and that we want for our own family, based on not only what the experts might recommend, but from our own personal bias of history .. the things we vowed we would never do to our kids because we remember all too well what was done to us.

Or, because while we hated it, it worked.

Buena suerte ..