The “Rage to Master”life with little ones, mompreneur, Thoughts on Being a Mom, Toddlers — By Rebekah on July 2, 2008 at 6:02 pm
I recently read a fascinating article in one of my favorite magazines, Wondertime (which, by the way, is unfortunately also owned by Disney – who, like Wal-Mart, will own the world one day – if they don’t already), that a mom wrote about her life with a gifted son. In the sidebar, it talked about a term called “Rage to Master”, which was coined by Ellen Winner. Winner is a child psychologist and Professor in Psychology at Boston College, whose book “Gifted Children: Myths & Realities,” gives some great insights on the minds and world of gifted children….and how our school system and parental tendencies can be counterproductive to truly gifted kids.
But, before all of you with totally normal kids stop reading because you’re thinking this blog entry is about gifted children, let me stop you. It’s not. I believe the “rage to master” is actually more common than experts might say – or at least varies by degrees.
And I think every young child has it. Especially my 1 year old, Luke.
What exactly is the “rage to master”? To quote from a quite interesting blog post on the topic from Wandering Ink: “it is the intrinsic motivation of gifted and talented children to master an area of interest; it’s absolutely obsessive in nature, driving the child to focus intensely on that subject matter and voraciously consume new information and skills.”
For those of you who have parented young children, you probably remember these moments of extreme obsession. Periods in a child’s life when they are acquiring new skills and can’t – it seems – waste time on anything that’s not propelling them toward mastery of the challenge. These “rages to mastery” happen around every major milestone: learning to roll over, learning to pull up, learning to crawl, learning to stand.
And, the obsession we’re witnessing right now: learning to walk.
I should have seen this one coming. Luke was an uncommonly happy baby (one of the main reasons we actually think we could handle a third). If presented even the slightest challenge by a toy being out of reach, he would proceed to entertain himself by playing pattycake or staring at a ceiling fan. He was happy to just observe. And with our household of grandparents, parents, 1 big brother, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and various neighbors and friends coming and going, there’s a lot to observe.
With the whirl of constant activity around him providing hours of viewing pleasure, Luke didn’t have the need to move. He was a late crawler, not learning this skill until 11 months. But wow – since then! The whole world has changed. And so has Luke. He quickly progressed to learning to stand, which caused him several late nights and short naps as he practiced and practiced in his crib. And now, a short month later, he is voraciously practicing walking.
Gone is our happy baby who was content to sit and observe. In his place is a determined, one-track-minded toddler who teeters laps around our den/kitchen area until he literally can’t take another step from fatigue. And then, he’s a fussy, discontented toddler who doesn’t understand why when his mind wants him to move, his legs may not cooperate. He’s even more fussy when he gets himself into a corner that he can’t figure a way out of, resembling the Energizer Bunny banging his drum and marching over and over into a wall.
As I watch him, I marvel at his persistence and insatiable desire to master walking.
And I am struck by the parallels in my own life, as a neophyte entrepreneur, with the Rage to Master driving me each day.
The same voracious appetite to master walking in Luke is the same all-consuming desire that I have to realize the vision of Moms Out Loud. I see it in my head, it swirls in my brain, it weaves its way into my dreams and unconscious thoughts making it extremely difficult to focus on anything else. And just like Luke, I find myself at times entirely spent with the overwhelming energy expended on the various aspects of executing against a vision that I feel so compelled to bring to my friends and fellow Moms.
These are the moments when I force myself to stop and remind myself of why I’m doing this business in the first place: to give me more flexibility around moments I can spend with my family, and to build a company that allows my employees – who will, when I’m big enough to hire them – be women or Moms who also want to contribute great things to our world at large….between the hours of 9am – 3pm (or so). And so, I make myself shut down the computer early a couple of days a week, and go home to be with my boys.
And when I do, I spend a little extra time with Luke, assisting in his “Rage to Master” by getting him out of those corners and sending him down a straighter path.