Friday, December 3, 2021

Roots & Wings

Give a child roots and wings is what they say
Forgetting that children were born with these things
For long ago theirs were taken away
- Words & Collage by Victoria Lynn Hall*

I always feel like I shouldn't write about children because I've never had any.  But then I remember I used to be a child.  I have trouble recalling my childhood sometimes but lately, whenever I'm doing some healing work, it seems like I recover a memory; like it has been sitting there patiently, waiting for me to recall it and rewrite its story.

Recently I remembered a time when I was putting on a concert for my family and some relatives that were visiting.  I was probably around 4 or 5 years old but even then I was very serious.  I planned that concert for a couple of days, knew the lyrics to Proud Mary by heart and had worked out the dance routine to go with them.  I don't remember being nervous or self conscious as the time came to perform but it wasn't long after I started, when the adults watching began laughing at me, that I suddenly felt embarrassed and shy and angry.  I stormed off in the middle of the performance like a true diva.  I don't remember if the adults tried to console me or if they'd uttered that line I do remember being told repeatedly as a child and all the years after, "You're being too sensitive."  But the damage was done.  There would be no more living room concerts.

Now I can look back and see what might have been funny about a 5 year old who was pretending to be Tina Turner and forgive the adults that were there for not taking me seriously.  Still, I wonder what might have been different if they had.  If they'd seen in me what I saw in myself at that time and encouraged me.  

Not that they never encouraged me.  I was given dance classes and even some music lessons but as much as I enjoyed them, they always gave me the distinct message that I was not good enough to be a dancer or be a musician rather than helping me to use the basic talent and passion I had to be whatever I wanted to make of myself.

But the 5 year old girl had already known how to do that.  She'd seen one Tina Turner performance and thought, "I can do that" - not like Tina, of course (nobody else could be Tina) - but in her own way.  And it's taken me this long to remember she was right.

The saying goes, "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings."

But I don't think we have to give children these things.  I think they are born knowing where they are truly rooted and how to fly.  I think the best, and probably most difficult thing we can do for them, is not let the world or ourselves take that knowledge away.

* If you share my photo collage/meme above, please credit me, Victoria Lynn Hall and link to this page if possible.

Here are the credits/links for the stock photos I used:

Background by Nathan Anderson

Moon by Ganapathy Kumar

Roots by Clint McKoy

Girl with wings by Piotr Wilk

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