"Stephen" had this comment in response to my "Trusting the Acorn" post earlier today:
"So imagine the pressure on all of us who lost a parent to death or divorce to become towering oaks. I would have been perfectly content to be a palm."
Stephen's point is well-taken. Growing up with absent or neglectful parents leaves scars. And not everyone dealt those cards ends up on the Actor's Studio, and for that matter, some who have made it to that level of success have nonetheless been devoured by their childhood demons.
So let me qualify my "less is more" attitude when it comes to parenting. If we're starting from a bottom line of an upbringing, with one parent or two or more, that is basically loving and provides the essentials for physical care and simple guidance on the safety issues of modern life, then less can be more. When we start intervening in our offspring's explorations of their inner life, and the subsequent expressions of that inner life, we are at risk of treading on the soul. Alexander Lowen once described most parents' notions of good children rearing as the equivalent of breaking the child's spirit, not unlike the way we break wild dogs and horses.
It's a challenge and a delicate balance. The good news is that whether you were neglected or over-controlled in your childhood, you can still discover and actualize your first, best destiny by becoming a balanced parent to yourself.
Thanks for the comment, Stephen. Enjoy the palm trees!