We don’t come into this world with a map or instructions nor the ability to read them, even if we had them. When we come into this world, we are given at least one guide. We have at least one person who is there to nurture and guide us in the right direction, most of the time. Much of our early experience in the world is going to be based on the way this guide interacts with us and the rest of the world.
The combination of you, world, and guide creates many possible outcomes for how you will perceive your surroundings and what you will understand of them. For most of us, this guide is called a parent.
For those of us who are parents and some who aren’t, we already know that there is much more to influence newcomers into the world than us. The influence of the parent can only go so far, and then it’s up to society and the things that society constructs. Gender is one of these things. Class is another. Society creates differences between people far more than it creates similarities. In this fog of differences, we all look for people that we are similar to. People that we have things in common with. This isn’t easy for everyone and sometimes, the things we have in common surprise us.
I’ve learned that talking with people about our childhoods can be as entertaining to me as talking with people about our children. Growing up and parenting are common grounds even when done differently. They are things most of us go through. They shape who we are. Parents continue to grow as they see the world anew through the eyes of their children and as they fear the perils those children will face in a world that is always changing.
Growing up is something that we have all done or are in the middle of doing. It is a great common ground for people to connect on, most of the time. It is common ground even when it is different. How different do you want the ground your kids stand on to be from the ground that you stand on now? How do you want to shape the world? How do you see the world that you are in now? Do you worry what sexism is doing to your children yet? Do you worry about having a son who is too kind or too compassionate? Do you worry about a bossy daughter?
I’m not going to tell you how to parent or that you should have children this month, but we are going to talk about children. Mostly, I’m going to share with you some of the things that I worry about when it comes to the world that I leave my son and the person that he will be when he leaves our home to be a part of it.
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