I'm so proud of my son, Jeremy. A few weeks ago he moved out of home for the first time, bursting with the excitement of being truly independent. (The rest of the household quickly reorganised the house so that our daughters now have their own rooms – they're rapt! – and we have more efficient office space, and so we were hoping he wouldn't find that he couldn't manage and had to come back home, as there isn't any room for him anymore... A bit like that ad on TV where the 'young adult-child' returns home only to find his old bedroom is now a new bathroom.)
In Jeremy's case, I'm pretty sure that, no matter how tough it gets, he won't be back. He is determined to live independently. And he is certainly stepping up to the challenge.
On Friday night he came for dinner and shared how stressed he has been feeling dealing with all his responsibilities and managing all of his expenses on his apprentice's wage. And then he told us how the young men in his life (his adult stepbrother and his new house mate) have been encouraging him to see the degree to which he was putting other people first and not looking after himself, and how he was getting burnt out in the process.
Jeremy took this feedback on board and sat down with his boss for a heart-to-heart about the various stresses and strains he was experiencing. The outcome was a much clearer and more open relationship with his boss and the freedom to do whatever he felt right for him (stay or leave), so long as he kept the communication lines open. And his boss effectively gave him a raise (a tank of fuel per week) to help him out.
So, at nineteen and a half, he has learnt a lesson that I didn't learn till I was forty: that when we honour ourselves, the world around us honours us also.
He had worried about these various issues for months, wanting to say something but afraid of offending his boss, breaking relationships he valued, letting people down, etc. I am so proud that he valued himself enough to speak up, and that he was able to do so respectfully, caring for all the people concerned. (NB He's staying.)
Dr Demartini says that when we are careful, we put others above us and creep around on eggshells, afraid of hurting them; when we are careless, we put ourselves above others and trample all over them; but when we are caring, we care for ourselves and others in equal balance (which means putting them in our hearts as equals rather than above or below us).
That's what Jeremy demonstrated, and that's why I'm so proud of him. (Though I still don't 'own him' on Facebook since his language is a little too colourful!)
I referred above to 'my sons'. And this is where I'm taking a little artistic license. The other son is my stepson, Sterling Rawson, the young man who provided mentorship to Jeremy just now when he needed it.
This lovely young man is closer to thirty in age, and works as a fitness instructor. Right now he's on holiday in Thailand, and a few days ago he sent his father an email saying that he had been sitting, looking out over the ocean, and reflecting on what it was, in today's world, to be a man. He had found an extraordinary article on the internet called 'How to be a Man' by Steve Pavlina, and was including it.
The article is so brilliant that I wanted to share it with all and sundry - and particularly with those of you who responded to my recent blog about sexuality and relationships. The man described in the article is the sort of man I'm sure we would all want our sons to grow into, and want our daughters to marry.
I urge you to follow the link and read this very beautiful and inspiring article: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/05/how-to-be-a-man/
- And if you'd like to have a fitness instructor who is a caring, deep thinker, consider my lovely stepson Sterling Rawson, of LifeSavers Personal Training: sterl1 at hotmail dot com or 0403 533 462.