Sometimes as a parent, with all the advice, and opinion flung at you, you can feel a little like a leaf on the autumn breeze.
You try to get grounded by educating yourself, reading around, listening to experts. Sometimes you try to voice your concerns, but the roar from all that hot air can make it feel that our views as parents can’t really be heard above the din.
Like the wind, the advice changes. Just as you think you have it nailed, whoosh, some new guidance comes in and you are off again, wondering where you will land this time.
Perhaps that’s why, when parenting, it’s important that we don’t forget our roots.
Our roots draw upon our upbringing, our spiritual background, our political and financial environment, our communities, our country, the ideologies, and the laws that govern us.
It is these roots that play a large part in shaping our views of what it is to do the ‘right’ thing.
When deciding rights and wrongs within the greyer borders of life’s predicaments, we go back to our roots. What would our parents think? What is allowed in the law? What do our religious leaders state? What do our communities believe?
Sometimes greyer areas arise: smacking children; 15 years olds having sex; abortion. Generally, I reckon we are very good at drawing upon our roots to work out the best way to respond to each individual situation. When things get really tricky, we can refer to a higher authority like an MP, or the law, or the church for guidance.
Sometimes these higher authorities disagree with each other. Sometimes these disagreements can cause untold devastation. Who decides who is right and wrong in these instances? Perhaps that’s a topic for another post!
Sometimes moral truths become moral fiction, just because of the passing of time. It was not that long ago that our moral compass would point many towards believing that if a family needed the money, they should send the kids down a coal mine to earn some. Or how about only the boys in a family should be educated? Or 50% of parents, the women, should not be allowed a vote?
We all have our different perspective: there are some out there who cannot tolerate the freedom of speech represented by this blog, and a blog written by a woman at that! But generally, we do have empathy and a desire to rub along OK with even the most unlikely of neighbours, don’t we?
I get worried when I feel this natural human empathy is under threat, manipulated or ignored. I want my roots to spread, to make connections, to make my family stronger. I don’t want to be placed in a little pot where I might grow OK, and where it might be easier to keep me safe and out of trouble, but where I can never truly flourish.
That’s why I believe an infrastructure that supports, protects and nourishes us all is important. It’s not just parents that form these roots: its family, friends, carers generally. It is us that support this whole precarious tree of life.
We shouldn’t be at the whims of the huffing and puffing of those who seem to think they have the right to change the direction of the wind, without our consent.
We may feel like leaves being blown in the wind, but we are not. We are roots.