I’m going to attempt to blog about myself. I know that I have talked about myself a little here and there, but I’ve never really devoted a lengthy post to nothing but the inner workings of me. I’ve opened myself up for much debate and criticism through many of the topics that I have blogged about…we can just add this post to that list
I’ve been pondering over somethings someone recently said to me. Pondering because I really wanted to understand whether or not this person’s words were the truth, as in a Universal Truth. I’m going to quote this person, but only anonymously, because I haven’t spoken to them about my thoughts — this post isn’t about that person or their words, only about what I might be doing/saying to cause a competent & intelligent person to say the things they said.
“…what causes defensiveness is…the asking of some very loaded questions paired with follow-up descriptions that imply your choices, your philosophy, and your approach to parenting is the only way to go, not just for you but for everyone in the world.”
“…you seem to have a political ideology that informs every aspect of your life.”
“…when you’re sharing your parenting philosophies, I guess it sometimes feels like you’re also lecturing the group in an Anarchism 101 class – Goldman, Bakunin, Sacco and so on.”
“It almost feels like you are a crusader of sorts, in the political sense rather than the religious, and in the left-end of the spectrum rather than the right.”
I like the person who said these things. I respect this person for saying them too. However, enough about the person saying these things.
It would be interesting to note before I go on how a “loaded question” is described. This is for my own information and reflection, but feel free to educate yourselves. I only recall but one question which could have fit into the category of “loaded question”, but semantics aren’t all they are cracked up to be these days.
Now, before I say anything else. I want to share a quote, which sums up quite nicely how I feel about the accusation of being politically motivated in my correspondence with those on discussions lists and with the world in general.
“I also believe you conflate the terms ‘anarchism’ and ‘anarchy’: AnarchY might be imaginary — meaning that we don’t now and may never have a society without coercive rulers — but anarchISM is a Value Set, like pacifism, or Christian love, or Buddhist empathy. It is not a description of the world, but a standard for judging situations within the world. ” – bkMarcus
I fully agree with the quote. Anarchism is a Value Set. It is a way in which one can view the world and a way in which a people can interact with the world. It is a model of thought to help one look at a situation — does this make sense, is everyone being respected and loved, is anyone using coercive means to “get their way”, is everyone being heard (the questions that most unschoolers ask themselves when there seems to be conflict)?
I also understand that by explicitly stating that I am an Anarchist, I have placed myself into a box. This box makes others assume certain things about me and expect certain things from me and lends the thought that I might have some kind of political agenda behind my interactions with the world. Do I have an agenda? I guess I do in that it makes no sense to spread the word of love, respect and egalitarianism if I am not hoping that my modeling and explanations of such concepts wouldn’t lead to more people living peacefully, consensually and with (not next to) one another. You can do those things and live in those ways without identifying yourself as an Anarchist, but you would be living out principles of Anarchism regardless — just as I also model & live by some aspects of Buddhist empathy and pacifism.
I admire, respect and think highly of children. I am pained deeply by how our culture treats children as second class citizens and how it views childhood as some kind of preparatory and lesser period of life. I do not like the things I see people doing and saying to their children that are hurtful, disrespectful, oppressive and condescending. I do not find it helpful to children to NOT stand up for them when someone is saying or doing something, which is counter to how much better that person would treat an adult, a guest in their home or the family pet. I believe that many of the things I do as a parent and advocate for other parents is “right” and not just “right for my family”. Those things which model principles we hope our children grow to live by, those things which come instinctively and NOT from a book by an “expert” and those things which follow the path of the least resistance all tend to just make sense as apposed to a whole host of tools for manipulation that parents and other adults adopt when living with children. These tools are often solely for the purpose of producing obedient, clean & quiet children that parents & adults do not have to *deal* with.
If you have something to complain about then you are either not “doing it right” or you have expectations (for yourself or your children) which are unreasonable. All the complaints I hear from people about children can be filed into one of two categories 1) children are inconvenient to the life *I* want to live or 2) they aren’t doing what *I* want/need them to do for *me*. Constantly fighting and melting down means that you are constantly working against your child’s natural inclinations and desires…working with them seems natural, easier and makes more sense in the long run. People are so quick to ask something like “does that mean it’s okay for my child to hit me” and the answer is “no”, but the real issue is not the act of hitting but the why of hitting. What have you done or not done to cause your child to resort to hitting (barring some kind of organic mental health issue leading to the hitting)? I know when my son resorts to hitting it’s because *I* didn’t pay close enough attention to his energy in the present, he hadn’t eaten in awhile or *I* wasn’t doing *my* job of acting as a buffer to the environment he was in. *I* was not doing my part to help him shine. I can see how attractive it is to lay all the blame and shame on the child, who so many seem to think “should know better”. I don’t have the expectation for a child to refrain from being physical as I do for an adult to refrain from being physical (especially from being physical with a child).
I have a way of seeing the world and the inherent good of people, which is interwoven into every aspect of my life. I would not call it political. However, it affects my political outlook. This interwoven perception of reality might line up with much of Anarchistic Thought and I am quite sure that this shines through when I speak and when I explain how I view a situation — I am not a moderate, nor a centrist, so my views and opinions are more noticeable, palpable than most. It just so happens that how I feel about children and parenting them reflects almost perfectly with how Libertarianism and Anarchism feel about children and parenting them. I guess it shouldn’t matter that I had most of my ideas on parenting set in place long before I was ever a parent and long before I would have called myself an Anarchist. I had already fit into the box without realizing the box existed.
If anything, I would consider myself a crusader of humanity. And specifically equal, respectful and humane treatment of children — if we can’t treat them “right”, how will we ever be able to treat anyone else right? My opposition doesn’t see children worthy of equal time, equal respect or equal acceptance…just like so many men used to and still do feel about women and minorities.
My opposition sees it as their place to direct, mold and create their children and their children’s lives, to make or force them to fit into the parents’ idea of what a child should/shouldn’t do/be/say/think and to make/force them to fit into the parents’ way of living. I see it as my duty to be my children’s partner, to help them navigate this world, to watch them unfold into their own persons (redefining each day as needed) and to help them shine their brightest with the best of my ability. I see my job to help them have as much access to the world as they ask for, to do it when they ask for it and to trust them with their access. It is my job to help preserve my children’s authenticity and autonomy, and because there is not a magical age when those two things develop or can be handed to a person, I trust that they are present from birth and only strengthen their resolve with each passing day.
Every aspect of my life is affected however not ruled or decided by a political ideology. I have principles that I strive to live by. These are internal, self-initiated and self-directed. Ultimately, I do not answer to external thoughts or persons, but only to myself and thankfully for myself & those around me, I have reached adulthood with a set of positive & egalitarian internal principles. After taking some time to ponder on these things, I am beginning to understand why it is common to find people who are intimidated or awed by me. My Dear Other Half will tell me it is because I am elitist, though in denial. I believe it is because I emit a sense of having my shit together; because I know what I want and what I need and I know how to get these things; because I am solid in my resolve and do not waver; because I have found a way to over come the selfishness that my attention starved childhood placed on me; because I do not take shit from people and I don’t care whether or not my actions answer appropriately to some archaic mode of tact and decorum; because only those nearest to me have the privilege to see me crack and to lose my Zen; because I am no longer afraid of myself nor am I afraid of doing what feels right and what makes sense in the moment. Not many can stand next to me and say those same things. These things are not because my life is informed by some political ideology, but because I & the Universe own my life, my choices and the Being that inhabits this bag of bones.
“…that I will perform All things and endure All things for the Great Work of the Universe…that I will continue in the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel…”