Steel in my makeup

I’m listening to the sound of steel beams being cut and welded today – exiting stuff, building an atelier! Can’t hear myself think, though – my days are very fragmented and so is my attention. I make lists of anything and everything, just to keep my head above water. Will soon be participating in ‘Into The Great Wide Open’ and there is a bunch of stuff I need to prepare for that. Will be going to Documenta in Kassel next weekend. Have a number of project proposals to finalise. Must choose paint colours, paving stones. Eldest boy going to Sjanghai for internship. Eldest girl moving to Utrecht.  Must have some steel in my makeup myself , as I’m not going melancholy mad – yet.

The one thing I will put the final touch on today is the booklet I’m making for my mother – her life story illustrated. I did some drawing to fill in the blanks, as she doesn’t have a whole lot of pictures from when she was a youngster.- poor family, lots of kids, the works. As it happens, I’m reading an interesting book at the moment, Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. He writes about a difference between poor kids and rich kids not in terms of material possessions but in terms of parental attention. Well-to-do parents talk back to teachers, sport coaches and suchlike, getting a better deal for their kids if necessary. Lareau calls this parenting style concerted cultivation – parents doing their level best to nurture their kid’s talents. Where poor parents see teachers and coaches as authorities and don’t question the deal they are being handed

This way, kids from well-to-do backgrounds develop a sense of entitlement  – they expect life to like them and they confidently take their place on the stage. If things are not to their liking, they can and do make more room for themselves. Kids from poor backgrounds learn to put up with things, not to expect too much, to stay out of the limelight. This is something that comes through in my mum’s life story in a big way – she’s as smart as can be, but never got to go to highschool or university. And never rebelled against that, either. She’s humility personified and hates having to put herself forward.  Used to tell me that ‘teacher knows best’ which made me mad as ….. Don’t think I have a sense of entitlement – more a sense of wrestling the things I want from life. Did a lot of wrestling ….

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