Still, we say it each time, a ritual that we share.
But what if it could always be so?
I am determined that, one way or another, it will be.
As we muddle through every day, our decisions large and small reflect it. When we bought our current house, the school district and the neighborhoods defined the choices. The college fund, such as it is. Those toys that were supposed to be educational (although a decent book and a few building blocks would likely have been better than any one of them). The activities.
And of course all the things we do together every day. Just like all animals play at the skills they will need when grown, it's hard to do any game with your child without thinking about what else you can teach somewhere along the way.
It's a real question. When I spend an evening away from family in order to attend an advocacy event, or just spend that same time head down in a writing project instead of being present in mind, is that the best contribution to family that I can provide? After all, we could easily be defeated on the current big issue, and that writing may never see the light of day, or only be read by a few friends out of loyalty and friendship.
I wrestle with this. Right this minute, my daughter is staring at whatever is occurring on her iPad - we could be having a conversation, or doing a learning activity together.
Here are my reasons.
- Because it's an expression of love. My daughter gets it. She knows that I am working to do some little part to protect her future. No matter what the outcome on a specific issue.
- Because my friends are her friends, and now we have more of them. A lot more.
- Because you can't hover over your child every moment. You get boring if all you do is impart what you learned back in the day before you were bogged down with child care. All parents need to go learn new things so that their latest wisdom, although much of it doomed to be cast aside, will have at least some veneer of newness.
I'm finding empirical evidence that this faith is justified. When I talk to someone who I have not met through environmental action, often I find out something pretty amazing that person is doing for their community, the environment, or both.
So - Is there time for work, and family, and also to advocate for the environment and for your community? Yes there is. Because, at the end, the only real question is how you define your family.
Any time you think you have to do something that's wrong, you don't.
Not Any More
We shall not participate in our own destruction.
Climate Change for Families has great ideas for how families can work together on our climate and environment.
The goal is to cultivate a more engaged, knowledgeable and collaborative community of people who care for the planet and are willing to take the necessary steps to provide a healthy and beautiful world for our children, their children and their children. Let’s make this the decade we transform ourselves to give our children a livable future.Check out this excellent column about protecting the environment for our children, by Bellingham, WA poet Rob Lewis.
When we look at a child we may not be able to see climate change, but we can see the stakes. We may not know what actions to take, but we feel compelled to take action. In this way children clarify the world for adults.EDIT: Rob emailed me with this note, which elegantly sums up the topic that I tried to take on in this diary:
It's stunning to see just how much effort and expense parents put in their children to ensure they will be able to "compete" in the world out there, while the "world out there" unravels toward a future no one will be able to do anything in but survive.