Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 15, 2012

Raise them to be bold!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:27 am
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My mother-heart beats with conflicting emotions these days. Youngest daughter is just arriving in rural Uganda for a summer of projects and college internship, and I vacillate between thick apprehension and silent wonder. She is living at the equator in a tent on another continent, part of a small group of engineering students who will build a rainwater harvesting system for a primary school. Far, far, very far away.

I guess I had a hand in this.

My children were raised to try new things — whether that was exotic foods, foreign languages, jobs, musical instruments, or far-off destinations. The oldest had a passport by his first birthday. Is it any surprise that his sister is now halfway around the world doing what her heart tells her to do? Isn’t that precisely what parents hope to see happen?

Fledgling young adults MUST discover their wings. This isn’t easy for them or for their mothers. Perhaps I’m secretly envious, as Africa is a favored place of mine. Perhaps I just want to be at her side, erroneously thinking I can offer protection from danger and discouragement. The struggle, however, is this: at the same moment I’m applauding my daughter’s willingness to be bold and confront her own fears, I’m chastising the choking glut of What Ifs that threaten to rob me of peace and joy.

But wait. A pattern emerges. Was not *I* the recipient of similar “be bold” messages, a generation earlier? Didn’t my parents teach us six kids the value of exploration and adventure and confronting fears? Didn’t my own mother deal with a smothering load of What Ifs, and survive? Ahhh. Yes. Indeed.

Someday, if I have grandchildren, I’ll watch the cycle repeat. Intangible gifts from past generations to future generations shape every one of our lives; choose well what you model.

Mothers, leave a comment: in what circumstances has it been hard for you to let go? What have you and your child gained as a result? (Fathers, you’re free to comment too.)

March 2, 2010

Who am I? Why am I here?

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:53 pm
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My name plate hanging at the Interpretation doorway

Instructed to make name plates for ourselves, and given a plethora of interesting raw materials to use, each of us seasonal people came up with something completely different. Each one clearly represented its maker, and personalities were evident from the get-go. As I compared mine with my coworkers’ final products, I shook my head. Mine was about as global/random/abstract as one could get. It shows my love of words, all of which revolve around the theme of discovery and exploration and adventure. It speaks to me of my Wild Woman inner self. It displays the great joy I feel at being here and being part of the national park system. It reveals my awe at my journey and at my surroundings. It admits to my being able to color outside the lines, not being confined by the area of the original plate given to me. It is sparkly and whimsical. It is me.

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