I bet you are thinking that this is going to be one of those blog posts in which I lament my neglect of A Gilded Yarn and my lack of time. Consider it done.
That is indeed where my thoughts started out but then I realised we are all busy (well, most of us anyway). Most of us have too many things they need and want to do and too many things they do not want but feel they have to do. Let’s face it, most of us have a lot of Duty and a lot less ‘Do as thou wilt’ time than they would like.
In this I am blessed. I do not have to work two or three jobs to survive. I do not have to watch my children starve or waste away of an illness that would be easy to cure if only they had been born in the Western world. I do not have to spend my days sewing and growing old in a dark and dank workshop, locked away from light and the world, fearing every day that I will burn to death only because that same Western world wants to wear a different T shirt every day.
I am blessed. I have three beautiful, healthy children and a spacious, warm roof over my head. I have a job that brings in money and is fairly intellectually challenging yet allows me to be a stay-at-home mother at the same time. While I do complain sometimes (too often!), I love being able to take my children to school and pick them up for lunch. I love when their school day ends and I get to take them home, or to the park for a picnic or the museum. I love being able to visit events and farmer’s markets and watch my children explore new things or play in the sun. Truly, I am blessed.
My house isn’t as clean or well organised as I would like it to be (I admit, it is far from that). While there is a lot I would like to improve, I now also accept that in the choice between a spic and span house and an actual LIFE, the latter easily wins out. My children don’t (usually) eat from the floor so why should they be able to? I’d rather take them to discover what life is really about and learn to live it to the fullest.
When they grow up, I don’t want them to say that they could eat from the floor, that their ears were washed every day and they learned about being dutiful and following the rules.
No – when my children grow up, I want them to say that they were encouraged to explore the world and their interests. That they were allowed to try new things and play and enjoy life. That they were taught that doing your duty is important but they should also think about how much sense that duty actually makes. That their freedom ends where the freedom of others starts and this means respecting other cultures, beliefs and ideas, however foreign they might seem. I want them to know that following the rules is right, but only if those rules are fair. And to have the courage to stand up and rebel against the rules if they are not.
Above all, I hope that they will know that they are beautiful, good people who are allowed to make mistakes. I hope I will have helped them develop the resilience to get up and try again or move on when they fall. And know that they don’t have to live their lives the way others expect them to live. They decide what is important to them and no one else.
And yes, I have to ‘lead by example’. I believe this is one of the main lessons I have learned in the past years. If I want my children to be free, I must be free myself. And if I want them to be the beautiful people they are, to the fullest, then they must see me be as I am. Not as others want me to be. Not as duty tells me I should be. Not even as I think I should be.
Just simply, purely me.
It may seem the simplest thing in the world. To me it proved one of the hardest. I hope I can make it easier for my children.
I got chills reading this post. Thank you for exposing your heart when you write. There is nothing more beautiful, I strive for these same values in raising my children. I agree that being “Just simply, purely me” is terribly difficult in a world with so many “have to” and “shoulds.” Parenting for 31 years and counting, I have discovered that there is less and less of the “parent/child” relationship going on here and much more a just “you and me” thing going on. I may be older, but my children are often wiser. I want them to see on a daily basis that we are in this together and are all learning to swim in the same ocean.
You know Zurn, my 14 year old is now discovering that the world is not a nice and safe place to many people. Sometimes I wonder how to help him see that it is also a wonderful place when there are so many things wrong in it. What I love is what you describe here, seeing how my little boy is turning into this pretty wise (though sometimes insanely stupid) young man. It makes me curious and hopeful about what kind of man he will be.
Truth be told….I am still often insanely stupid 🙂 I keep believing that I am forever growing up, and I don’t ever want to believe that I have arrived. So, boy or man, girl or woman, aren’t we all “turning” into someone?