Saturday, January 2, 2010

Positive Thinking in a Cynical World

I have a friend who is very intelligent, witty, well-spoken, and fun to be around. This friend is also a self-described redneck. Lately he has been writing essays about his worldview and I have been shocked and saddened by the contempt he expresses for his fellow humans. I suppose it says something good about humanity that two people who approach life from such completely opposing points of view can commune over a drink and still like each other. (In case he's reading this: you do still like me, right?)

I have decided to be grateful for our (enormous) differences of opinion. It is easy to be grateful for my fellow unschooling friends--who wouldn't be grateful for people who wholeheartedly agree with everything you are thinking and doing?  However, I think it is also important to be grateful for those people and events who challenge me.

This friend's writing has encouraged me to think more deeply about the way I am choosing to live. It's easy to get complacent in one's belief system. After awhile you can't remember that other people don't all think the same way. How I am parenting is radically different from the mainstream, and sometimes I forget how frightening it must be for other people to witness. ("She doesn't send her kids to school, and she lets her daughter do whatever she wants all day! They play a ton of video games, and she doesn't even have a plan for math!")

I struggle with the fact that well-meaning parents who would never hit their friend or even their dog would think nothing of hitting their child, and then have the audacity to say it is for their child's own good! And I feel sad when I see parents repeating what their parents did to them, clearly just getting through life doing what they think they should do based on what everyone else is doing. I also feel sad when I see parents using violent communication methods.
Maybe I sound like an evangelist, but I wish I could help people see that there is a better way. You don't have to have an adversarial relationship with your children! Choose joy. Choose to see the good in everything. It is there.

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