I know you all feel as I do about kindness. Maybe thoughtfulness is one of the next practices that might come with privilege? In other words, given education, and experience, do we owe the world a willingness to stand and think?
I was talking to my younger British friends, online of course, about parenting in America. They told me that from where they sit, young American mothers appear to be polarized. In this case, the battle is Sleep Trainers vs. Attachment Parenters. Do you put your baby on a schedule and let her “cry it out” when bedtime comes, or do you carry him everywhere, including into your bed? Apparently there’s no room for muddling through, or adapting to your particular child.
I can barely even bring myself to talk about our larger political environment. I dread the upcoming presidential election. So much stupidity, so much vitriol on the way. I think I could handle one or the other, both, please, no.
Here’s an untested hypothesis about our situation. America’s big and diverse. We’re riddled with gaps, in wealth, culture, life experience. Meanwhile, everyone wants to be heard. First the FCC removed the requirements for radio and television to provide equal representation for opposing points of view on important subjects. Then the number of communication outlets proliferated, with cable and opening up of the spectrum.
Finally, well, much as I love it, social media. Commence polarized yelling.
So America fights, entrenched for safety, lobbing absolutes across the battlefield in an attempt at kapow. When many of us know, if we’re honest, it’s not that simple. Nothing you can imagine that has more than one actor is simple. The mother/baby dyad is already complex, countries’ political, economic, and legal systems defy certainty.
It’s so tempting to find a position and stick to it. It’s easy to form opinions, and then look for data and anecdotes to reinforce what you want to believe. It’s hard to remember, “I could be wrong.”
I’m not advocating a mass retreat to uncertainty. Women in particular need to practice outspoken assurance. But I do think that when we live in abundance, our thoughtfulness and careful address of the other may allow us to repay some of our debt.
I’m staking many a good night’s sleep on this theory, so I hope I have it right. And no, I’m not going into the business of motivational posters, just playing. A privilege. Enjoy your weekend, may abundance follow you around.