Raising the future By Lauren Taylor @aconcernedparent
“Raising the future” Something as parents we see and hear all the time. We have the ‘mama-merch’ and tell each other how much of a good job we’re doing and its great that we have that support, that solidarity.
As much as I tell myself that raising Isla to be a good person will be enough to change the world I can’t help but wonder what the reality of that idea is. It’s easy to believe that we’re all in this together, but are we? Or are we so consumed into Instagram and other social media that we believe they must be safe. I don’t know about you, but I don’t follow people whose views I don’t believe in. Because of this, my feed is full of labor supporters and people who want to make this world a better place for the sake of our children. Its easy to fall into a sense of security that we are the majority. But are we? Recent events leave me feeling like perhaps we’re not, we’re the odd ones out and I’m not sure what to do to change that. We use votes to determine the overall opinion of a group, in most cases to determine the opinions of an entire country. Results suggest that we are, in fact, the minority. “For the many, not the few” was plastered all over the place and as a person who grew up on a council estate, and as a mother who is now raising her own child on a council estate I thought the ‘many’ they speak of must include us. It appears that we are in fact the few. I believe that we’re a result of our environment. Not in the context of where we are raised or who we are raised by but the society in which we draw our beliefs and values. It terrifies me to think that we might be on the edge of the turn, and that in fact our children will see our values as outdated and that in fact we really are the few.
Reading back on this post it astonishes me that it comes across as very negative. That’s not what I want, and not what the aim is. For me, and I’m sure for you guys as parents yourselves, the fear and guilt we feel as parents for bringing our children into this fucked up world is so self consuming that sometimes we lose the sense of now. We become overwhelmed by worry over our children’s education and futures. Its self soothing to believe that the next generation will be good, kind people. The truth is they might be, but is it too late? Our children are forging their personalities right now, regardless of their age, and there isn’t too much we can do to stop it. I do my very best to raise Isla in what I call a ‘no assumptions’ environment. Shes 18 months old, so can’t communicate what she wants completely yet. So I’m careful to ensure I’m not assuming she likes pink because she’s a girl. I make sure that I don’t push her to like a certain colour or type of toy. Then when shes old enough to make her own decisions she can so without question or judgement. I’m always questioning what I’m doing, what I’ve bought her and asking would I do the same if she where a boy? If the answer is no, then I do my best to change that. I’m careful with what I buy her, especially with books as they tend to sneak in a lot of assumptions on what our children should be and how they should act. I don’t assume she’ll grow older and like boys, I used to when she was first born, but not anymore as I did my best to change that shit. I have no preconceptions as to who she’ll be when shes older. She may decide her name is actually Issac and I’m 100% okay with that, after all I was pretty certain she was going to be a boy. All I expect from her is that she’ll be an overall good person, I expect she’ll be kind, accepting of others, and open to all people from any walk of life. I pray that other mothers do the same and raise their children to love not hate, but I cant guarantee that they will do so. As I say, the small amount of people I am close to, and that I follow on social media, are all doing the same as me. Maybe not in the same way, but with the same end goal. The bigger picture however, terrifies me. The current ‘world leaders’ scare the shit out of me. Would you want your child growing up and looking up to people like that? Are they the role models you have in mind for your kids? Cos’ they sure as shit not what I had in mind.
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