Monday, March 19, 2012

Creating A Tidal Wave Of Change. Are You With Me?

"There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children."
~ Marianne Williamson
"One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world." ~ Dr. Charles Raison
To write, or not to write? That is
sometimes the question.  
There are times when I ask myself why I put so much time and effort into this blog and all that goes along with writing it. This happens occasionally on days when I feel particularly overwhelmed with juggling everything in my life. It definitely happens on days when people who come across what I write send me comments that are so full of vitriol and judgment that I question, just for a moment, my purpose and beliefs. 

I am generally a rather private person and am not inclined to enjoy being the center of attention. Nor do I tend to be confrontational about things. And I don't have the thick skin required for being judged harshly. And yet I continue, day after day, to expose myself and push myself to share what is generally a very intimate thing: my struggle to change bad habits, my missteps, my fears, insecurities and self doubts and ultimately, my attempts to overcome it all.

And for what purpose?

I was considering that question the other day. It came up again, but this time in context of being asked what my goal was in writing this blog. When I first started, my thought was to eventually write a book. I still have that goal, I've just had to put it on the back burner for a bit. But, in the almost 2 years that I've been writing, I've noticed that my goals have morphed a bit. 

The Ripple Effect...who knows how far reaching
the effects may be of what we teach our children.
I've come to realize that those two quotes at the top of the page are why I do this. I persist in sharing and examining and digging deep because I know in every part of my being that we are all connected. What we teach our children (directly or indirectly) goes out into the world like a ripple in a pond. Expanding further and further to ultimately touch everyone they come in contact with. And everyone they come in contact with creates their own ripple. 

Yes, it is often overwhelming to consider how certain beliefs about children that I don't agree with are so ingrained in many people. Yes, it can be disheartening to come up against people unwilling to see things a different way. And yes, it sometimes would be easier to just live inside my bubble and let others fight for this parenting paradigm shift. 

I watch parents in the playground barking orders at their children or disrespecting them in myriad ways and I physically hurt. Can I really live in a bubble and ignore the possibility that maybe I can help in some way?
"And there is no easy way to change human behaviour. There is no quick way to change human behaviour. To achieve change we must be patient, be committed, and above all be brave." ~ Aunt Annie's Childcare
Bravery. That's one trait I didn't expect to have to work on when I became a parent. Bravery is for people who fight against racial injustice. Or against brutal dictatorships. How can I look at what I am doing as being brave? But I believe bravery is in the experience of the doer. Not in the eye of the beholder. It is brave for me to share my shortcomings and be willing to be judged. It is brave for me to push myself to find the deep connection, the underlying meaning, the empathetic response instead of just the easy way out. It is brave for me to put myself out there as a parent who speaks up for a different way of doing things...even when I'm challenged by my own insecurities about being visible.

Are you guilty of "childism"?
A recent article in Time Magazine provocatively titled "Childist Nation": Does America Hate Kids? discusses a disturbing trend:
"There’s a general sense now that children’s rights, children’s needs, children’s wants and desires have taken on too prominent a place in our family lives. That we’ve over indulged them and now have to tighten the reins. The backlash is, at base, against ourselves — against a form of boomer and postboomer parenting that many agree has gone off the rails. But the targets of that backlash — its victims — are children."
When I read things like this I know that I have to write. I cannot bury my head in the sand and pretend I don't know the effects of that sort of thinking. I am just one person, but the ripple effect of the compassion, empathy and respect for children I am working to create can grow and expand infinitely. 

Will you join me?
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