Raising Children in Troubled Times

in ecotrain •  2 months ago 

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My brother, who is rather sour and nine years older than me always declared that he was never having children.

He frequently declared that it would be wrong to bring them into this terrible world. My uncle declared much the same. Their voices rang in my ears leaving me to wonder about it all from quite an early age.

Of course, that didn't stop me from becoming a mother. To the absolute horror of all of those related to me, I was barely an adult when I had my son. Admittedly there was no planning involved in this "project" of mine. I was promptly disowned for a time (irrational programming from another era) and I was quietly forgiven once the dust settled. Although becoming a mother had not been in my immediate plans, I took to mothering like it was my destiny.

I had worries. How would we manage? How could I put food on the table and earn money with a child on my hip? I felt overwhelmed worrying about climate change, rent, bills, breastfeeding, diapers (cloth or plastic) and the many other environmental issues not to mention kidnappers, dangers, insect apocalypse, health issues, societal disparity, and so many other things. In twenty years later I still worry about some of these things.

Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

We know the issues. We can see the direction the world is taking and the path society is following. The only way to make things better is in how we choose to live our lives and how we raise our children. We don't have to plod along to the piper's tune doing as others do, willfully hoping things will get better. We can write our own songs and live to our own beat.

No one said it would be easy to do the right thing which is often the unpopular thing.

My son and I fell in love with a handsome guy, I married him and we became a family of three. My husband is very sensible with his guidance we raised our child, quite differently than how we were raised. We did things differently than our friends did with their children. We stood our ground even though sometimes it hurt to do so. It was not always easy to say no to those big blue eyes (and sometimes we failed). We would often hear "oh poor Kyle" because of something or other (not having a cell phone, camping & exploring holidays rather than Disneyland, having to go outside to play instead of cable television) oh the horror right? What suffering he endured at our hands!

Because of all the careful choices that we made, I can say with complete confidence that our son had more personal and spiritual freedom than any other kid we knew.

And so, our decisions were not always popular with our son but he's come to appreciate how we raised him. We have a man now out in the world, making his way and we aren't worried about him. He has a good head on his shoulders and knows the value of investing in silver and living within his means. He has fun but balances it with being awake and aware. He cares about the world, and wonders about his future, the future if he can afford children and so many of the things that I worried about too.

As for us, we've continued to shape our lives so that we can do better and live by example when it comes to our principles and "being the change we wish to see in the world". He sees this too and knows that the choices we make through life are very important and that we do not have to follow along to the old beat.

I am excited because we have come such a long way in our lives and in how we deal with those concerns that plague us. We've become action takers and people who walk the walk. will it make a difference? I believe so. Our son is further ahead that we were at his age, so much more aware and prepared for the realities of this world.

All times have been troubled times. In our actions we help to guide and influence a great number of things. In our childrens actions there lies a promise for them, the future, the children that they might choose to have.


This is my response to @ecoTrain question of the week: Do you think it a good or bad idea to bring children into this world in these troubled times?

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It was so nice to read that you've done a great job at raising a child. It seems like he has become an asset to this world, thanks to the way you and your husband raised him.

Thank you very much for your story. Raising kids in troubled times is a great question. I also think about these topic. On the one hand I want children, but on the other hand I don´t want, because we are living a crazy world. Honestly I am not sure.

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It is such a complex question! I honestly could have answered it in many different ways depending on what angle I approach the question from.

Everyone always thinks the world is terrible.

In the words of Wilco, "every generation thinks it's the last, thinks it's the end of the world."

There has literally never been a better time to be alive than right now. Kids will grow up and be smarter than all of us, hopefully. We're living in a very weird time where they are still people walking the earth who remember who life was like before TVs, while anyone born now is being born 10 years after SmartPhones ruined all of our lives and made us super anxious.

I have at least a decent amount of faith that things will get better in like 50 years.

That said, I'm 40 and childless, and there's no way I would ever have kids. Not because the world is terrible, but because I simply don't want to, plus it's expensive AF.

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Thanks for your thoughtful comment @sharkmonsters! We are living in strange times. It's going to be interesting to see how things change over our lifetime.

I disagree that the next generation will be smarter than us. Without a concerted effort by parents/society, that is very unlikely to be the case. A lot of studies are showing that humans are "dumbing down".

experiences create intelligence as well as sharpen one’s mental abilities. Too much screen time and not enough time spent exercising our minds.

Check this out, it's an interesting read. http://appalachianmagazine.com/2017/01/03/is-human-intelligence-declining-iq-scores-are-now-decreasing-with-each-new-generation/

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Expensive AF... doesn't have to be!!!!! Only if you do what society tells you to do....

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Ha, well maybe... but that's not the norm. Most people spend years paying off the hospital bills, let alone the rest of the expenses.

Either way, not for me.

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Oh I'm so sorry. I didn't consider where you were from. I don't mean to be insensitive, @sharkmonsters, but here we have a health care system that is pretty good. It didn't cost me to give birth nor did his doctors bills up until 18 and even dentistry is heavily subsidised until 17. I think we even have publically funded home birth programs. The GP and ultra sounds may cost but it's not alot as it's subsidised by Medicare. I was on an extremely low income at the time so I didn't pay a cent. I really have didn't consider the American health care system. In fact, I'm horrified.. I have just been looking it up.

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I mean, looking it up for having babies.. I did know it was costly.

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"We don't have to plod along to the piper's tune doing as others do, willfully hoping things will get better. We can write our own songs and live to our own beat." Kudos to you for marching to your Own beat and RAISING him well.... and to your husband for being thay guy who raised another man's son. Lovely.

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Thanks, @artemislives. It is such a joy to see our children develop into people that we admire.

@walkerland this is a beautiful post. You should show it to Kyle. You know how similiar our journeys have been. Jarrah was 'poor' too.. he wasn't allowed to have tech in his room and had to study at kitchen table and Wi-Fi went off at 10 strict. Many other things that 'other kids' had or did. But he had loving parents and we did stuff together and travelled and taught him things that have made him, like your boy, pretty darn amazing. And like your boy, he's even admitted out loud that we did a good job and he'd raise a kid the same way. Oh gosh, I hope our boys have kids. I'm almost ready to be a grandma, aren't you? He he.

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Thank you, I appreciate you saying that. This post is a bit messy but I feared excessive editing would leave it in the draft folder unpublished. It is quite uncanny how similar our stories have been, and each new story that we share with one another seems to solidify that. I would be cool if Jarrah and Kyle could meet someday. I bet they'd get along quite well. :) I sent Kyle the @ecotrain question of the week and asked him what he thought, I wanted his point of view before writing my response. He called me immediately saying "Mum ..are you pregnant??". Haha. He actually sounded mad about it. I am totally ready to be a grandmother.

"The only way to make things better is in how we choose to live our lives and how we raise our children. We don't have to plod along to the piper's tune doing as others do, willfully hoping things will get better. We can write our own songs and live to our own beat."

I really love this ^^^ because I'm watching most of my peers follow the same basic path with their kids while we venture down one that departs from the "norm"...and I know from personal experience that being different isn't always easy! But as an adult I can look back and be thankful for it, enough that I want to repeat the cycle with my own kids ;)

You seem to be such a strong person and I admire the lifestyle you have chosen to live and appreciate that you have bought up your son right for the children are our future!