Emma Coats’ Writing Basic #17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
I bet there’s not one writer who doesn’t already know this truth, or actually anyone past the age of three. Everything we do, all experiments and everything learned from them adds to the mix of personal creation.
End of article.
Oh yeah, there’s something else I’ve mentioned before – every mistake is beneficial and actually needed to reach our goals. We must know what fails before we can discover what works. Sometimes we get hurt in the discovery, but that’s life. No way around it.
End of article.
Wait-a-minute… There’s that thing about moving on when something fails, like an idea, an assumption, a process, solution, or a material thing put together. There is no justifiable excuse for keeping something in place when it simply isn’t true, doesn’t operate, doesn’t apply to the problem and goals, or is just too clunky to efficiently accomplish its task.
End of article. Or…maybe not.
Perhaps there’s more to say about holding on to stuff that’s not functioning well, even though it may have done its job in the past. And I bet you already figured out I’m not talking about writing anymore and maybe this is where YOU want to end this article. Maybe you don’t need to be reminded about change and evolution. If you’re liberal, you already glide with the trends or move ahead of them. And if you’re striving to conserve established ways and means, you don’t want me trying to change your mind about anything.
End of article. But still…
There may be one subject you’ll want to read about – parents and their teenage children. I’m going to talk about young people exploring sex for the first time and what their parents should do about that…or not do. And since I’ve never raised children myself, I’m obviously the utmost authority on that subject. And now you’re thinking…
End of article. But wait…
I have been a teenager exploring sex for the first time, and I have had parents laying down rules, and I did participate in the 70’s sexual revolution shifting from one paradigm to another. So I know what I’m writing about. If you don’t believe me, for you, this is the…
End of article.
But for those who are still reading, here’s my father-daughter true story.
I have an acquaintance who I occasionally encounter through mutual friends. I will call him Dan. Dan lives in Florida as a public defender, an occupation I wholly respect. Four years ago, when his daughter was fourteen and his son was eight, the three of them came to visit my wife and me. Dan was going through a divorce at the time. His wife had left the family.
During their stay, with the kids watching TV in the next room, I asked Dan if rearing two children alone was difficult. His daughter, I’ll call her Beth, would soon be dating and I was curious about how Dan would deal with that.
Dan was adamant. He would not allow Beth to befriend any boy, no matter how casual, without his approval. And he certainly would not allow sex between them. He knew what all boys wanted, (he was one once) and his daughter would NOT be their conquered Snow White.
Now Beth was fourteen and I could understand her father’s protective instincts. But Dan was angry, as if he resented having to stand guard against every teenage penis on the planet. This conversation was uncomfortable. I never forgot it.
After four years of no connection, last week I got an unexpected call from Dan. It was business related but I switched the topic to his daughter since I calculated she was now eighteen and would soon be leaving for college. I was right, and I asked Dan how he felt about the separation. Dan said that he and Beth had had a father/daughter sex-talk and in Dan’s words, “She got it.” The following is what Dan thought she got:
Sex is a commodity, like gold, silver or corn. And like anything else offered for market, it’s subject to supply and demand with the subsequent rise and fall of value. The more sex Beth awards, the less she will be valued. However, she can’t keep her sexual favors entirely off the market because then she will have no value. So she must be discreet, keeping her sexual experiences limited and her value up – but not so limited that she’ll disappoint a potential husband after graduation.
On the surface Dan’s words sound like practical advice. And if female birth control and condoms didn’t exist, these directives might save a lot of grief. But we don’t live in 1955 anymore and in this country something called the Feminine Liberation exploded in the 60’s and continues to this day. Not everywhere of course, but in most college hang-outs, dorm rooms, apartments and the back seats of cars.
Dan finished our conversation by noting that Beth’s current boyfriend (or friend who happens to be a young man) is “safe” and on his Approved List. The teen is “safe” because Dan thinks he’s gay and he mentioned that to Beth. Now she’s leaving for college in a rage, and according to Dan, she hates her father.
He can’t understand why. He has nothing against homosexuals. Gays make loyal friends, and they won’t try anything. Why would Beth be upset about that?
I’m pretty sure I know why Beth’s upset, even deeply hurt. Here’s what Dan doesn’t understand.
Sexuality is not a dessert we give out as a reward, although we can. Sexuality is how we FEEL and what we ARE. And yes, as parents we can suppress our child’s sexuality through guilt and conditional love, but we can’t redefine it; just like we can’t pray the gay away or keep deviant priests from expressing their sex drives.
If Beth is a sexual being, and that applies to 98% of eighteen year-old girls, then her need to feel female and sensual is a crucial step into adulthood and something that can’t be denied. But that’s what Dan is trying to do – establish Beth’s value, contingent on the denial of her sexual nature.
And where exactly, does the female value jury reside?
According to Dan, his daughter’s value is determined by the boys she dates – the male gender! Incredible!
Beth would have to ask herself, Why would Dad believe that boys think sexual girls are sluts unless he believes it? He must, because he’s telling me girls who like sex are disgraceful, which means if I like sex, I can never tell Dad or trust him again.
Bottom line: Beth’s potential loss of respect is not about boyfriends, it’s about her father.
And the irony about this disconnect, is that Dan is unaware of his own prejudice. He’s sexist. He gave that away when telling me Beth needed to be erotically satisfying to a future husband. This means after marriage, her high value is based on quantity and quality of sex rather than the restriction of it.
Dan has reduced his daughter to a service commodity who retains her value by suppressing her sexuality while single or supplying it on demand when married.
This message is exactly what Beth “got” with that fatherly advice. Beth now understands that her growing-up sexual experiments will sacrifice parental support. And I suppose that’s all part of maturing and taking on independence. Despite her father’s edicts, Beth will become an older, wiser version of who she is now, whatever sexual orientation she has.
With the loss of respect for her father’s philosophical limitations, she will accommodate him, maybe tolerate him, telling him whatever he wants to hear. And Dan, needing to believe that his daughter lives in his image, will accept all lies which conform to his beliefs.
Loss of connection is what happens to parents who strangle their children with unnatural rules. Yes, some mothers and fathers do manage to convince their children that sex is dirty by calling it holy, for they believe that as well. And yes, one can live a “good” life within this very narrow moral focus. But that’s all it is – a very narrow slice of diversity and change, the true nature of God and His Creation.
If this sounds religious, it is. When it comes to sexual identity, love your children for who they are, not what you force them to be.
End of article.
Originally published on Curiosityquills.com.