Thursday, February 26, 2009

Alienation In Parenthood

I was lucky when I became a parent. I had access to some parents who encouraged our attachment parenting tendencies, and helped us find a way to work with our child, to help him understand the world and find his way in it. Viri, especially, needed this attention. Now, through strange work circumstances and new acquaintances, I'm around a lot of people who don't subscribe to our viewpoint. I'm beginning to realize how detrimental that is to us, and to our interaction with Viri. And, much as before, I am in a situation where I need to leave my current situation and find a place of comfort for me and my family.

Some of us make choices to be different, to be outside. Many people I know are comfortable with that, even enjoy it. I've never been that way. I want to fit in with people. I don't mind that aspect of my personality. I like it, even. I was outcast as a youth for being smart, and getting good grades. I was outcast as a young man for being contrary and rebellious. Now, I'm outcast for a parenting style that my job doesn't want to use. That's an odd one. It doesn't especially bug me, except that I started this job specifically to be allowed to be the parent that I want to be. Once again I made an attempt to fit into a space that either I misread horribly, or changed drastically.

My quote for these times that J gets a kick out of is this: Gravity pulls, and atoms spin around. Anywhere in the middle gets messy.

This reflects my opinion of the universe. I think it is an orderly place, on the whole. Humanity, endowed with free will, can try and make human enterprises, but they are doomed to mediocrity. The big picture all shakes out, but trying to control middle sized human things, and failure is often the result.

I want to do something that makes things work, for a brief moment, in the big picture. I think my dream job is leaping around like the character in Quantum Leap, taking care of little things so that the entire universe operates how it's supposed to. Everything isn't always fun, or pretty. But his job is to make sure that the whole tapestry looks right. There is something deeply satisfying about that show.

In a sense it's what I like about working with children. They are just little bundles of potential, and it's rewarding to work with them and see what happens with little positive changes. The frustration sets in when you hand them off to parents who don't even listen to what they did that day, much less follow through with steps to help their development. I understand parents have it tough, it's a hard job. I screw up a fair number of things with my kids. But I work constantly to give them the tools they need, and I never refuse to listen to something that might help me to do that. (Viri today: "You wanted to smack me! You're bad, Papa!" He's right. I did kind of want to smack him for pushing past Arkaedi and knocking her down. Perceptive.)

It pays off. I have two wonderful kids. Kids who deserve better than our current crazy schedule, and difficult parents. So, I'm listening. Next quarter is going to be different.

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