I ran across a post written this summer by stay at home dad @ChrisRoutly from his site the Daddy Doctrines. Chris was writing about whether or not parenting makes people happier which Chris says is actually a misnomer. Chris says parenting is about living a fulfilling life. Chris writes some great stuff, so go have a look.
This all got me thinking about what makes Chris sit down and write. And he’s not alone. Many many parents are asking questions about the nature of a fulfilling life, and going public with their thoughts on all of it. My parents would have thought all this self-examination to be unnecessary and self indulgent. And yet here I am wrestling the greater questions of fulfillment even as I race through packing lunches and doing laundry.
Well, for the record, I think this process is anything but self indulgent. In fact, I think it may be nothing less than the salvation of our generation. Blogging and talking and thinking and exploring the bigger questions of parenting and living are powerful tools for being present in our lives. And in a time when political acrimony and social divisiness is running rampant on the mass media, we bloggers are building bridges and forming media communities that circumvent the steady diet of marketing and mayhem that makes up the “public discourse.” We are creating a new conversation, that is about diversity of opinion combined with civility. All in service to the idea that our families and our sweet young children need something more than one more damned argument.
We blog about the incredible rewards and pressures of raising children because we not only want to be good parents, we want to LIVE. And for some of us, mothers and fathers alike, a life unexamined, is a life only half lived. It is in my nature to talk and write about what I am experiencing. Chris Routly is the same way. Thousands more are as well. All of us are in dialogue about what is happening between us and our children. And in the process, we are creating a powerful online resource by which other new parents can seek new frames from which to parent; new options to choose from in their public and private dialogues.
Our western culture has never been good about giving people multiple ways to see things. Our culture tends to label, simplify and pigeon hole people. Men are wage earners. Women raise children. Dad’s are into sports. Moms hug. Need I go any further?
The new generation of parents blogging and laughing and singing and sometimes crying out their experiences on the net are creating a huge new space in which parents can search for ways of being human that fits for them. And finding new ways of seeing ourselves, of reframing how we choose to experience things is crucial to how we manage the challenges of life, change and children.
Our parents were amazing. They worked, often in isolation, to answer the age old questions of how to make a family function. But I am deeply thankful that the floodgates of human experience are open on the net and that I can read what guys like Chris are experiencing, because my life is made richer by the knowledge that I am not alone in this journey. In fact, I’m part of one hell of a big damn village; a village that is shifting the public discourse on what a family is and how we all can CHOOSE to experience it.