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What are you doing?

A train of thought that derailed, half-formed and metaphor-mixed, in my neighborhood:

Parents so often use the phrase "what are you doing?" as a prelude to censure, such that I have to suspect the two become linked in most children's minds.

"What are you doing?"

And even if it's nothing particularly bad, the child doesn't know, but fears the censure, so replies "Um.... nothing...."

Does this, then, progress to the state where we as young adults have trouble introspecting honestly, and feel that if we look within ourselves all we will find are flaws? Yoga, so foreign and difficult to the western mindset, has so much to do with looking inward, observing, and accepting what is there without censure or criticism. Are these things linked, again?

As Aiden grows, I have a mind to start a game where one of us will call to the other at any given moment and ask "what are you doing?"; the other will then stop, honestly observe him or herself, and reply. "I'm standing on one leg!" "I'm playing with a ball!" I'm trying to catch the kitty!" That would lead to discussions of why we're doing that, how we feel about it, and what the consequences are, good or bad. And ideally this will teach him, and remind me, of self-awareness, introspection without censure, and the infinite joys of just Being.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
mc156
Mar. 19th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
Wonderful idea! You will be an excellent Mom ;>

I did a variation of that game with my son when he was *very* young... But, taking after me (i.e. Smart A--), by the time he was two he had a standard answer:

"Whatcha doing Faustus?"
Answering your dumb question!

teeheehee
sheistheweather
Mar. 20th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
That is a really cool idea. I can't wait till he starts talking. ^__^
worldmegan
Mar. 20th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
I really like this.
georgejas
Mar. 20th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
dude! good idea.
elocinnuala
Mar. 20th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC)
LOVE
I love this idea!!
It was that precise kind of thing growing up that taught me how to lie...and that the truth wasn't going to get me anywhere I wanted to be so I learned to twist the truth well...and that's something that no-one should have to unlearn.
Beautiful, beautiful idea.
beaq
Mar. 20th, 2007 06:47 am (UTC)
Just passing through. :-)

This caught my attention because I was thinking about parental intrusion today. I think it's true that kids get a little suspicious of "what are you dong?", but I'm pretty sure that in my case part of what made me cagey was being interrupted in my thoughts, and dreading meddlesome intrusion. I was "in the zone", as they say, quite frequently as a child, which means I was focused intently on what I was doing, and the energy flow was humming along nicely. It's a good feeling, and one of the reasons it's so difficult to get kids to darn well come in and have DINNER. It's hard these days for me to get there, and one of the things that gets me hung up is something I associate strongly with my father -- a gut-level sense that I can't afford to get to wound up in something, because someone is going to wander over to me asking "whatcha doin'?", and is not going to take "nothing" for an answer without demanding that I break my flow to pay attention to him and his questions.

Something I hope to establish in any familial household I help run is that people should have a right expect others to respect a code word that means "leave me alone, I'm focusing." Under appropriate circumstances, of course.

I like your idea. I just think there may be other reasons for a defensive "nothing" than censure. Sometimes it can be insensitivity to kids' needs for privacy.
1_aga
Mar. 20th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
that's brilliant
I'm reminded of a stand-up I once saw who said the reason nobody wants to be a "responsible adult" is because when you were a kid and your Mom asked, "who's responsible for this?" Anybody who owned up was going to be in big trouble.
queenofhalves
Mar. 21st, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
i like that idea.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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