Dear Vicki: I’m writing because my husband and I have run out of ways to help motivate our son James. He is 12 years old, musically talented, and loves photography and drawing houses. Currently, James wants to be an architect, photographer or a musician. The problem is that he has lots of ideas, but rarely puts anything into action. It’s like he gets stuck at the starting point and can’t get going. Not surprisingly, he struggles with his schoolwork and getting organized. He daydreams a lot and we constantly need to remind what he should be doing. Sometimes we even have to sit with him to make sure he gets things done. We had him tested and while the results came back in the normal range, we still need to make lists for him regarding what needs to get done each day. Fortunately, he’s an only child so we do have the time to focus on him. I work part time as an accountant and my husband is a computer designer, writer, and programmer. What will it take to help James accomplish things and succeed? Signed: Weary and Worried in Washington
Dear Weary and Worried: It is very understandable why you are worried about your son’s apparent inability to accomplish things. We have an accomplishment-driven culture these days that readily equates success with manifestation: What have we done lately? And while this works well for several of the elemental personalities, not all of them will thrive or feel comfortable in this kind of environment. I think that may be part of the issue for James.
Your description of him perfectly fits that of the primary Water personality. Water people definitely dream and create, and sometimes their act of creation produces a physical manifestation like a painting, photograph, or drawing of a house. But Water people often don’t have the structure to stay with projects long enough to actually manifest something that is not an act of creation itself. This includes chores, uninspiring homework, etc. And while manifestation starts with an idea or a dream, in most cases it needs to be brought down to the physical to be real.
On a positive note, James could well be successful as a photographer or musician with his primary Water personality. But if he wants to be an architect, he will definitely need some Metal energy in his personality for the precision necessary in architecture. And speaking of Metal, I think James is surrounded by that elemental personality at home because I suspect both you and your husband are primary Metal personalities. Metal people are the most structured of all the personalities (followed closely by the Wood personality), and it takes a lot of structure and precision to work as either an accountant or a computer programmer. Both occupations require not only precision but also adherence to specific rules and protocols, something Metal people do well.
You ask what it will take for James to get started on something and accomplish it. The short answer is that he will need Wood energy. In the Five Elements model, manifestation and accomplishment sit in the Wood element. Organization also sits in Wood. It sounds like your son has not been able to access his Wood energy, and part of that may have to do with a home environment full of Metal energy.
In the Five Elements model, Wood and Metal relate on the Controlling Cycle with Metal controlling Wood. It is possible that when you and your husband kindly bring your Metal personality form of structure to James to help him, you could inadvertently be “pruning” the very energy he needs to manifest and accomplish. Another concern about too much Metal energy at home is that Metal and Water relate on the Nurturing Cycle, with Metal feeding Water. This means that you and your husband may also be inadvertently reinforcing James’ Watery ways by imposing your Metal structure on him.
And in truth, as you have seen, your form of structure isn’t really working with James. In nature, water will usually take any structure offered to it, be that lakebed, ocean shore, cement pool, or glass jar. What usually doesn’t work long term to structure water is metal because water rusts metal, destroying its structure. However, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to help James embrace structure, decrease his Water, and increase his Wood. What is needed is the energy of the primary Earth personality which as parents, you and your husband surely have. That’s because in the Five Elements model, Earth is what controls Water. And we see that in nature; all of the forms of structure I mentioned earlier have earth as part of them. It is the natural support and structure for water.
Even better news is that Water and Wood relate on the Nurturing Cycle with Water feeding Wood. This means that once James’ Water personality has guiding structure from Earth instead of Metal, instead of flowing all over the place, it will flow forward and increase his Wood energy which has likely been kept in an “over pruned” state by the presence of so much Metal energy. Once his Wood energy is back online, it will be much easier for him to manifest and accomplish whatever his muses suggest.
Going forward, I encourage you and your husband to take a more nurturing approach with James. Remember that the primary Earth personality is very gentle, kind, and loving. But it isn’t a pushover personality; it is stable and consistent. And while you use the Earth aspects of your personalities to help manage James’ Water energy, you can begin building his Wood energy by encouraging him to wear green, hang out around trees, even fill his room with green plants or wood paneling. Drinking lemon water and using lavender or peppermint essential oils also build Wood energy when it’s depleted.
If you can manage the Water aspect and build the Wood aspect of James’ personality, I truly believe there will be no stopping him from manifesting anything that he wants to accomplish. Blessings to you and your family!