It occurred to me last night– somewhere between forcing myself to put my book down (because dangit it’s 11:00 and I better get to sleep) and actually falling asleep– it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter what I tell Alden about what’s important.
Or, it matters what I tell him, but only because what I tell him is either a reinforcement or a contradiction.
He can SEE — probably far more clearly than I can — what is important to me. He can see it because it is where I put my time, my attention, my energy, my money, my admiring gaze, my love.
I can tell him it’s important to pick things up that fall, rather than wait for someone else to do it. He only learns I believe that, if he sees me do it, without hesitating or thinking about it, every time.
I can tell him it’s important to get outside every day and breathe the air and notice the land and the seasons and pay attention to where, on this big small planet Earth, we ARE. But he learns that I mean it when we go.
I came across some articles recently about The Family Manifesto– a statement, printed or painted or needlepointed or whatever craftiness suits the fancy– and hung somewhere so that all can see What This Family Stands For.
The manifestos I saw said things like this or this or this … and I found myself feeling annoyed and eye-rollish about creating, and displaying, such a thing. Not that there isn’t an understandable and modern appeal to the idea of creating a shared vision statement. (Followed, after sufficient committee meetings, by an Action Plan and accountability flow chart.)
I mean, are these manifestos statements of fact or of desire? (Yes, I know, both.) But the trouble is that our children learn more from the fact than by our stated desire, and the distance between the two may be a thing that’s teaching them all kinds of things we wouldn’t be too happy about. Like “depends who’s watching” or “when I feel like it” or “on a good day.”
It made me imagine… an omniscient perspective. An objective observor of our family life… gathering evidence.
Evidence — but not to judge–just to know. To really learn about, to really see, our little family and know what we really stand for.