We used to have conversations about how we would raise children.
Husband tended to view the goal of parenting as teaching the kids how to get by in an imperfect world. He was very concerned with how to ensure the kids would fit in at school, given the cruel and flawed world of school cliques, and how to best prepare them for future dating, given the cruel and flawed world of dating.
I saw things differently. I felt that we should give our kids the space to be themselves, even if “themselves” were not socially desirable.
It wasn’t that I was opposed to buying my kids the cool trendy things or that I didn’t want them to be dating or something. I’d be happy to buy things the kids want (within reason, not raising them to be spoiled, encouraging age-appropriate saving and budgeting, etc.) and happy to have the kids socialize and date (in safe and age-appropriate ways). And of course it was important to teach manners and how to treat others with kindness and dignity and how to behave properly in different situations. And of course it was important to prioritize education and ensure the kids would grow up capable and ready to earn an honest living.
But if our kids had interests that were “uncool”, say playing with dolls or playing the banjo, or if our kids had no interest in dating, I didn’t see why we should push them out of something they were interested in, or into something they were not interested in, just to satisfy a cruel, broken, flawed world.
In my view, it was one thing to accept a certain amount of bullshit as an inevitable given that we just have to deal with. That we live in a world of broken systems. But it was another thing to actively cater to bullshit. And worse, to keep perpetuating the bullshit broken systems that we all knew didn’t work but that we were seemingly stuck with.
I actually hate the mentality of “I’m having children so they’ll make the world better” because it sounds like a cop-out. (Why is that burden on their shoulders? Why couldn’t you do it yourself?)
The world would most likely remain broken, but I preferred the idea of parenting with the possibility that the world could be better. And I wanted to parent not only so that our kids could thrive in this world, but also so that in unlikely event of a better world, our kids would be prepared to thrive in that one too.
[I can hear you, Parents of WordPress, laughing at me.]
Not that any of this would matter. For reasons that are too personal and complicated to get into here, I don’t have children and likely never will. I am not happy about this. I woke up this morning feeling even more pissed off than usual about this.
Sorry for the rant. I’m in a mood.