I’m a flood

In working with parents and teachers of young children, I often used the analogy of riverbanks to help convey my belief about guidance and discipline.

“Children need guidance like a river needs banks,” I would say.

The child is the river; the loving guidance is the banks.

Build artificial walls that constrain the flow too tightly, and the water will rage within them, and burst out at the smallest crack of opportunity.

Provide little or no riverbanks, and you have a flooded plain. The river isn’t flowing but spreading without direction. The river overflows, causes some destruction, a mess.

Healthy riverbanks include places to carve new channels, and they support all kinds of growth and life.

Right now, me? I’m a flood.

I’m spread out across the landscape, ineffective, out of control, and messy. Saying yes to everything and then apologizing as I back away, flail, fail, and back out.

Rushing from part to part and feeling a loss of the center, the channel, the whole.

I want to stay home and clean house, plant a garden, make meals, have friends over, pack lunches, put everything away all at the same time.

I want make sure Alden does swimming lessons, soccer, violin, dance, gymnastics, and lots of play dates.

I want to drink wine and read swords and sorcery novels all night.

I want to start a school, home school, go back to school, unschool, write a book.

I want to float in a canoe looking up at the sky, with my husband at the paddle and a picnic around the bend, all day.

I want to play music. I want to live overseas. I want to run for office. I want to run for cover.

If I was my teacher, I’d continue my metaphor applying it to my own life, instead of that of a child, which only seems simpler, and I’d say that it’s OK for rivers to reach flood stage.

That it’s healthy even to overflow sometimes.

Maybe, I’d tell myself, seedlings are right now being deposited on fertile soil, and next spring I’ll be marveling at what has come up. Flourished, even.

Yep, that’s what I’d tell myself, all right.




(Reposted this one in celebration (?) of having shared 100 blog posts.)


6 thoughts on “I’m a flood

  1. “Metanoiesete! The present moment is the right time. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Believe this good news.” (Mk.1:16)
    “The journey of one thousand miles starts under one’s feet”
    (Tao Te Ching 64)

    Grace and Alden in a nutshell.

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