Happy Memorial Day!
Let’s take a breath and set our intentions to have a happy summer and really enjoy and appreciate our kids, all our kids, this very summer.
Although in this blog we may talk about “problems,” there is a big problem in our parenting zeitgeist at the moment where kids have too often become labels and the sacred essence of their beauty gets lost in a shuffle of ADD-OCD-LD-OT jargon.
We all have our issues, but none of us ARE our “issues,” we are spirits here to learn and grow. When we see the sacred in our children and each other, that’s when we plug back in to the greatest days we’ve ever had, long summer days with nothing but bikes and popsicles and swimming and watermelon and fireworks and the beach…
As a therapist, my goal with every client includes the achievement of GFTL (good feelings that last). One of my goals with Privilege of Parenting is to encourage us to all work together toward Good Feelings that Truly Last, for ourselves, and all our children. One key to GFTL is that they require presence to the moment. We can only be truly happy right now, not in the past or future. So, really see your kids today. Relinquish the guilt about Sunday and the anxiety about Tuesday and actually live Monday.
And now we turn to Chuck Negron, founder of Three Dog Night—a celebrity expert on music, debauchery and redemption—for another perspective on the question, “What do we tell our kids if they ask us if we ever did drugs?”
Chuck Negron was the founding member of Three Dog Night that went on to sell 90,000,000 records. And then he got addicted to heroin. After 36 failed rehab programs he had an epiphany in the 37th (never give up) where he had a breakthrough. Since then, he has been making music again, and helping keep drugs out of the music biz, as well as helping kids with addiction issues.
Chuck’s and my kids go to the same school, and recently there was a school fair where the theme was “The Sixties.” It was a bit surreal to be hanging with Chuck, four decades after I’d first fallen in love with his music back in the actual 1960’s.
Then, after yesterday’s post, I found myself wondering, “What would Chuck Negron tell his little girl if/when she asks him if he ever did drugs?” So I asked him. He agreed that this is an important issue and said, “If you have done drugs you should answer that question with a yes. Followed by an explanation of how it might have been the worst decision you have ever made considering the implications drug use might entail. Many simply don’t get to walk away from drugs after trying them.”
Now this answer may or may not work for you, and most of all I counsel you to trust your own guy, but I think most of us would have to admit that Chuck’s more of an authority on this than we are (unless Keith Richards happened to have clicked onto Privilege of Parenting this morning).
Also, if you sadly have a kid struggling with addiction and want to read more about Chuck’s amazing journey (or if you’d like to simply download some fantastic Three Dog Night music as the soundtrack of Memorial Day, 2009), you can visit www.chucknegron.com.
As I sign off for today, on this Memorial Day, I am reminded of how Chuck’s music resonates through so many of my childhood memories, especially summer, where I got through my homesickness at summer camp singing “Jeramiah was a bullfrog,” every evening with the other nine-year-olds getting dressed after swimming in the lake, taught the song by our counselor who was, at seventeen, our de-facto dad for those rather long eight weeks.
With age we get perspective, and my camp counselor blasting “This is the end, my only friend, the end…” by The Doors, and Three Dog Night’s “The world is black, the world is white, together we learn to see the light,” and then murmuring anxiously after lights-out with the other boy-men counselors about draft numbers and lotteries, would only come to make sense to me years later. The meaning of what was actually going on haunts me like the limp flags hanging up and down my street under the shrill cry of cicadas in a long-ago Chicago August, honoring the young men on my block who were killed in Viet Nam that summer.
In these economically dark, and yet at the same time ripe with possibility, days of “Yes we can!” it serves for us to send thoughts of gratitude to those who may be in harm’s way right now on our behalf, and to those who have risked, and often died, so that we can have the freedom, and the privilege, to parent, live and love as we chose to do it. Those brave men and women also need our love as parents, the subtle whisper of our wishes that they, and everyone they encounter, should all make it home safe and sound in body, mind and spirit. They are all our children.