This is an issue that really intrigues me. I was raised by a true “cool mom” who, if I asked, would let me skip school, thought a B grade was great, and when we got depressed and wanted to lie down for a few months, was like “Sure, I understand.” I think because she has worked with so many troubled youths, the fact that my sisters and I showered and didn’t try to set the house on fire made her feel we were fine.
But once I forged my way into the real world, I saw that a thicker skin and good penmanship – for starters – may have helped me along the way. I think a lot about how to be loving to Vivien and make her feel solid in herself, while also toughening her up for the real world.
One way I do this is I RARELY interfere if Oliver is teasing her. I like her getting feisty and either not getting her way with him and learning from that, or sticking up for herself and learning from that. I take cues from prominent people, especially women, since I believe we have our own unique hurdles to jump. I remember what Nancy Pelosi said when asked how a woman get’s to be the Speaker of the House. She said, “I highly reccomend having 5 older brothers.” Every time I hear Vivien wail “Oli-ver!!!” I think of that and stay put.
Or an interview with Hillary Clinton where she said if she got an A, her father would say, “That must be an easy school.” Or Condi Rice’s parents making sure she practice that piano. Or Obama’s mom waking him up early before he went to school in Indonesia so that he could do correspondence courses she had sent away for him. Obviously a lot was expected of them, and losers they ain’t.
So this is one of those moments when I didn’t want Vivien to give up.