Dear Five Faces: I’m writing about my son, Kirk. He’s a quiet, loner kind of teen and a very talented artist who I’m pretty sure is a Water. Last fall Kirk signed up for a drafting class with a teacher I’ll call Mr. Lane. Kirk loved the artistic aspects of the class and appreciated the structure Mr. Lane brought. All was well until Mr. Lane received our district’s Teacher of the Year award. According to Kirk, after that Mr. Lane began demanding greater accuracy and precision from this beginning drafting class. He also started bragging about the award and other accomplishments he’d had that the students would probably never obtain. Kirk is having a really hard time with this and wants to quit the class. Is there anything I can do to help him? Signed, Water’s Mom
Dear Mom: This is a difficult situation. I think you’re very correct that Kirk is a Water and it seems likely that Mr. Lane is a Metal. Precision and structure are hallmarks of Metal. I have to say that it’s wonderful Kirk was able to appreciate the structure that Mr. Lane brought. Waters don’t always like someone interfering with their “go with the flow” nature, so it says a lot about your son’s openness to being guided. Good for him.
I suspect what’s happened is that winning the teaching award has caused Mr. Lane to move to an excessive Metal place. This would naturally make his Metal characteristics more pronounced and exaggerated. Because Kirk and Mr. Lane relate on the Nurturing Cycle where Metal feeds Water, one might think that more Metal would feel good to a Water. But this is a perfect example of structure differences making a greater impact on a relationship than cycle dynamics. Relationships aren’t just about Nurturing or Controlling Cycles. There are so many other aspects associated with each element and these will also influence how the elements relate.
The good news in a Water/Metal relationship is that Metal can offer a great deal of synthesized wisdom to the Water for it to use as inspiration. The bad news is that Metal is the most structured element and Water is one of the least (Fire is usually considered to be less structured that Water). The reason a Water/Metal relationship can work at all around structure is that Waters are usually mellow enough to accept a certain degree of structure. Kirk demonstrated this brilliantly in his initial appreciation of Mr. Lane. But now that Mr. Lane has become dismissive, controlling, and over-structured, it’s understandably become too much for Kirk and his Water.
But since Kirk likes the class so much, there are some ways he can try to stick it out. The element that controls Metal is Fire. If Kirk wears red shirts to the class this might tone down Mr. Lane’s Metal around Kirk. The fragrance of selected essential oils can balance Metal energies, too. Eucalyptus and lemon are especially good. I don’t know if Kirk would be willing to place a few drops of either oil on his skin when he attends the class, but that could help, too.
Ultimately, the dynamic of teacher to student is so one-way, especially with a Metal teacher, there might be little Kirk can do to change how Mr. Lane is relating to his students. But as Kirk’s mother, you could speak with someone at the school to help Mr. Lane see that he’s gone a bit overboard. Metals are wise and reasonable people, so a few well-placed words might bring him back to the kind Metal he was, a Metal able to bring beauty and structure to your son’s Watery flow. Good luck!