Dear Five Faces: This may be an odd question, but I’m hoping you can help. My teenage daughter, Sam, is very creative and loves to design things like clothing, pottery, and even scenery for our local theater. Sam’s enthused about starting things, but once she’s in the middle of it, if the process takes too long she loses her enthusiasm and I have to encourage her (and sometimes downright nag) to get her to finish. This sounds like problems with her Water element, but I’m not sure what to do. Sam’s very outgoing and active in student government, so I’ve thought she’s a Wood, but maybe not. Signed, Soggy Mom
Dear Soggy Mom: I can see why you suspect that the behavior you’re having problems with in Sam is a Water issue because conceptualization and creativity do sit in Water. However, manifestation sits in Wood, so I suspect your initial assessment of your daughter is correct: Sam most definitely sounds like a Wood, but a Wood who loves to splash around a lot in her Water.
Here’s what’s probably happening. Once in Water, Sam comes up with lots of great ideas and projects, but it’s her Wood that she uses to make them happen. A hallmark of Wood is accomplishment, so this means that while Sam may love the designing phase of a project, she loves the finishing of it, too. But the road from the design start to the accomplishment finish goes through the town of hard work, and some Woods just don’t have the patience for that. If too much time is involved, Sam might be losing interest in her projects, and therein sits the problem. It’s not that Sam is lazy, she’s just not engaged anymore. And remember, Woods don’t do boredom well.
For Sam, keeping her engaged in the process can depend on how long any given project takes. As her mom, you might offer guidance on how time-consuming a project could be and point out the commitment necessary to finish. But let me also warn you that this might not stop Sam if she’s really gung ho. Woods often think they can do it all. Experience will be her teacher here.
Another option is to encourage Sam to get involved in group projects where there are other people helping who enjoy the process of completing lengthy projects in ways that Woods often don’t (Metals come to mind here).
And no matter what happens, just discussing this with Sam will be a great gift to her self-understanding. If she’s going through life as a Wood, it will be most valuable for her to understand her own tendencies. So congratulations to you! Sam is blessed to have a mom who’s concerned about her Water ideas not overwhelming her Wood.