I had a shocking realization today. I have been aware of this for a very long time, but I guess it’s less realization and more ready to accept the reality.
Hope doesn’t desire more for her life.
She doesn’t really seem to dream about the future.
She doesn’t really dream of what she wants to be when she grows up.
She doesn’t really dream of a life beyond maybe a few weeks from now.
She wants to be in honors classes, but more because they are brag worthy, not because she believe she’s smart or that they are a gateway to college.
The only more she seems to want is new sneakers and maybe access to more social media.
She wants here and now.
She doesn’t see tomorrow. She can’t seem to think about tomorrow. She is not motivated by tomorrow.
She doesn’t want more for herself or her life.
I struggle with this. I am ambitious. I am an overachiever. I am constantly thinking about my next move, my next project, where I want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years, what do I want retirement to look like.
If I mention these things, Hope glazes over like she can’t even understand what I’m talking about.
Today, I was able to really admit to myself, that she doesn’t want more. I don’t think she knows how to want more.
It feels like another loss I’ve uncovered. I’m angry that Hopes visions for a future or that her desire to live big and boldly seem to have been stunted or even crushed.
I hope it hasn’t. I don’t know if I can teach her to want more or even knowing what wanting more means.
Hope grasped how demanding high school will be this last week. She is already engaging in some self-sabotaging behaviors and suggesting that honors classes are too much work. They aren’t too hard; they are just a lot of work and she just doesn’t have as much time to binge watch the Disney Channel or lay in the floor babbling or whatever else she wants/needs to do. It’s a lot for her, not academically, but just emotionally I think.
But to take her out of these classes would be emotionally tough too. It is a badge of pride that she tells EVERYONE about. “I’m in honors!” “I’m in honors!”
She wants to pride badge, but not the work. To her credit, what teenager wants to do much work? Well, some do, I guess; but mine does not.
Unlike debating adults, I can’t just rattle off a bunch of data and stats and articles about how the importance of education is, or how teachers, like everyone else, struggles with unconscious bias and it may affect her evaluations, or how her bad attitude will get her labeled or how pushing her in school means she might have a greater likelihood of going to college and getting a job that can turn into a career.
She ain’t trying to hear none of that…because she doesn’t even know if she wants that.
She doesn’t want more; I’m afraid that she doesn’t know how to want more.
I’m afraid that I can’t want more or possibly enough for her. It’s like I can try my best to love her enough for the both of us, but I find my dreams for her constantly changing. I had all these multilayered goals, short term, intermediate goals, long-term goals. All the dreams are getting scrunched into short term goals. It’s becoming soul crushing to have long term goals, because we’re just trying to survive now.
But I can’t let the long term goals completely go. I know that I have to teach her to want for tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. Occasionally she’ll talk about the future, but it is so very rare.
I suppose that the more positive way of looking at this is to see her living in the present, and that’s supposed to be a good thing, right?
But living in the present is supposed to be enjoyable, and it is not rooted in an inability to think about the future.
I don’t know what it will be able to make her want more. Time I suppose. I’m hopeful that she’ll continue to progress and to want things. I want so much for her, but more than anything I want her to want more out of life for herself.