Jewel Talks Childhood + Parenting in iVillage CelebVillage Blog Post
Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:21:25
In her latest exclusive blog for iVillage's CelebVillage, Jewel writes about the dilemma of giving her son too much -- and reflects on the lessons her own difficult childhood taught her.
How her own childhood shaped her:
…"I was what is called an 'at-risk youth.' I did not know that term then, but I can tell you I felt it. If we are what we are surrounded by, I knew I had to find the kind of role models I wanted to become and then surround myself with them. This led me to look and study everyone around me, and to try and take the good, and leave the bad. If I had no idea how to be happy, I tried to see what happy people did with their time, and what unhappy people did."
…"… I simply tried to make myself do what happy people did, whether I felt like it or not. I woke up instead of sleeping in. I exercised. I quit whining and being so negative. I looked for opportunities instead of sitting around complaining about what was wrong with my life. This all took a lifetime, of course, and with many mistakes and pitfalls -- too many to even mention -- from homelessness as a teenager to unthinkable betrayal and heartbreak as a woman. But the point is I kept moving forward, striving and struggling and moving toward health and happiness, and I kept weeding out those forces in my life that did not bring health and happiness. My mettle was tested, and I answered. I still pinch myself at the blessing of my life."
…"I remember back to when I was 16 and I had received a full scholarship to a prestigious fine arts high school. Most of the kids came from very wealthy families with married parents, and I was utterly shocked to see that these spoiled, soft children were little better off than me with my emotionally unstable and abusive home life. As a poor kid I imagined that having married parents and wealth just automatically equaled happiness. Boy was I wrong."
…"…the way I was raised was the polar opposite -- it smacked more of neglect than being spoiled. But the point is, it's the opposite side of the same coin. I was not given enough tenderness, care or more importantly enough instruction to know how to function or relate to anyone. It was sad, BUT I did learn to be self-sufficient at least, and even back then I knew I was going to come out ahead. Because at least when I looked inside, behind all the pain, there was a fighter in there who knew if my back was to the wall, I would figure a way out on my own. Hardship taught me to be a survivor."
About her job as a parent:
…"I feel my chief job as a parent is to raise a child that can become a functioning and happy adult once he is released from my arms and out into the wild world. This may sound odd, but I have to remember my child is not my own -- he is his own. The best way I can describe what I mean here is to reference the Native Americans who said they do not own the land, they are stewards of it. I am a steward of my son. His time in my home is fleeting. I want to enjoy him every second of every day, but knowing I must deliver him to his adulthood in good shape, so he can find happiness and love and purpose on his own path and in his own terms. I must try to do no harm. I must try to take care of all my emotional baggage so I don't burden him with what is not his to deal with."
…"The love a child gives you is so pure, so healing, so satisfying, that it can keep a parent doing anything to keep the source of that love happy. It is so blissful, it can help you gloss over any holes in a marriage, any discontent with a job, it makes any emotional self-maintenance seem a little easier to avoid. Loving a child seems like the most pure and innocent thing we can do. The love of a child is a canyon you want to throw yourself down into and never come out of. But sadly that's not practical or healthy for anyone."
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