Friday, July 24, 2015

The Vulnerability In Parenting

"Ternura (Tenderness)" by artist Oswaldo Guayasamin

    Imagine that your heart has left your body, is one-quarter the size of you, and crawling, walking, or running around in a world where the internet and TV constantly remind you that there are mass shootings, kidnappings, and child molesters. Furthermore, your child is facing a world where you as an adult know things are precarious concerning your countries financial future, and an expanding and increasing economic imbalance disproportionately polarizing the upper and lower classes, and maybe they're also facing a school system that doesn't really educate, but molds good little workers, and an education system that leaves out at least half of the truth and history regarding your country. "That's every country." you might say. Maybe so, but why would you or anyone want their child to go into that? Why would you want to perpetuate that?

    As I haphazardly run into information about auto accidents involving children, government military actions that end up killing children abroad, violence resulting in the senseless death of beings who really had no chance, because they had nothing to do with anything besides learning the basics about our world, how to go potty, the ABC's, and to not walk out into the street… And, I swear… My wife, at the moment of me writing this just came to me and told me about a car that was stolen with a toddler in it.

    Having a child has made me face a fact that as a "progressive", left leaning, open minded, wanting to be a non-judgmental and almost everything has a systemic reason as to why it's happening, type of person. I face the idea that there might just be bad people in the world.
    I pause at this idea because maybe it's lazy, because maybe the problems are systemic far more often than not. But, what does that have to do with my heart running around in the world? Well, it's all part of the vulnerability of being a parent. That you love something so much that it could potentially utterly devastate you, and change you for the rest of your days if anything fatal happened to your child. And, I have no idea how parents who have lost children cope with it, and make it through that. Are there even tools in any tool box for that? One of the only things I can see working for parents who have suffered such a thing is to be surrounded by, and embraced by their community with compassion, understanding, and love.

    So, why would anyone even want to think about these things? I don't know. But, as a parent I do. They're usually not long thoughts. Looking something like this square in the eye isn't the most pleasant or easiest thing to do. Sitting down to write about it takes longer than I usually allow myself to acknowledge such painful potentials, which I, and which any parent who gives a shit vows to guard against at all costs.

    So, how do you guard against such things? Because, as you start to spend time in this somber mental space you realize that you can't control everything, and there are smaller ways you can defend your children from bad potentials, and protect their future. So you start addressing tinier solutions, things you can affect, and you do all you can because you want to live with the intergrity that you're doing all you can, as much as you can, for one of the most beautiful and pure things in the world, love. And, more specifically the love of a child.