My dreams might not be things that change a nation, or change anything quite so monumental. My dream is for our homes, our families, our friends, to be the change we want to see in the world. Through the little things, the day to day, that make it easier.
55 Years ago Martin Luther King Jr. shared his iconic speech about a dream of true Peace, Freedom and Equality, which has had such a huge impact on the last 55 years of History. I hope he wouldn’t mind me sharing my own dreams under a similar title.
I have a dream… of “informed consent” where each person is presented with enough information to make a decision for themselves. Where society, which often has a distorted point of view, doesn’t prevent a parent from following what their gut tells them to.
Informed consent with parenting choices; from bed-sharing and co-sleeping to different rooms; Breastmilk and donor milk to formula alternatives. Why are these choices fuelling “mummy wars”, when they should be just choices with varying drawbacks and flaws? Acknowledging risks shouldn’t be taken as judgement or criticism; though the deliveries may vary, there’s care at the source of them.
Cognitive Dissonance is what really fuels the wars. When our minds try to justify our choices by denying the flaws. By making it an “Us vs Them” dichotomy. Instead of saying I know there are flaws but I’ve made a decision, for myself or my family, even if it felt like there was only one decision at the time. Which is why support and information is so fundamental for us all to make decisions we can live with wherever they lead us.
Informed consent, where medications and vaccinations have their flaws declared and individuals are trusted to decide what they want to do. Without coercion, misleading or lies. Because if side effects happen, the patient or parents shouldn’t be taken by surprise.
Trusting each other that we’re making the best decisions for our families; offering information can help on the way, but trusting each other to make the decision at the end of the day.
Respecting their choices, even if it isn’t the one we would make, is what makes us mature and should be a cornerstone of our societies. We shouldn’t have to agree with each other about everything to be able to treat each other with respect or find common ground to grow a friendship.
So often I see people undermining another’s opinion claiming “I believe in science,” implying to disagree has no logic or reason; forgetting that at any one time science can have conflicting theories and views, dividing scientists, doctors and you. One person’s claim to a belief in science, as though it’s the end of a discussion, is nothing more than arrogance showing them to be rude.
Kindness and respect are what we need to present our opinions as “just another view”. Regardless of if we believe it’s the be all and end all, you catch more bees with honey. So long as you know the other person has all the information, to make their own decision, an informed one, then the ball’s in their court; it’s not on you if they make a decision you wouldn’t choose to.
Humility and grace are the cornerstone to a home revolution; be humble knowing even if you’re confident in your decision, you can’t have contingencies for every variable. Things might change or go wrong, but if you have humility, the trip ups won’t be as big as if you let pride motivate you.
Grace is important for everyone everywhere. We need to be gracious with ourselves and those in our care. We need to be kind to ourselves and those around us, regardless of our choices, regardless of others. Accepting we all do the best that we can, grace covers our backs, knowing doing our best is all we can. You can pray, you can hope, you can do different things, but at the end of the day all we can do is lay foundations.
Praying and hoping, that by demonstrating informed choice with grace and humility, we will prepare our children for critical thinking, self-respect and autonomy. That our children will grow up respecting others’ decisions. That they will have the kindness and respect to have differing views. That help them to share their opinions and help others make informed decisions. That they will be humble and know grace with themselves, so that when they slip up, and we know they will – like we do, that they can get back up again, ego’s minimally bruised.
I have a dream that parents, generationally, won’t take their child’s parenting decisions as a personal affront. As time and research improved our understanding of what is biologically normal or optimal, or evolve the practices that are socially normal. That our parents, then us for our children and grandchildren, will be gracious and respect our decisions, trusting we’ve come to them thoughtfully.
I have a dream of a home revolution, where we lead by example, loving, trusting, respecting, researching, critically thinking, making informed decisions. Sharing our learning with those around us, with kindness, humility and grace, that they can make informed decisions too. That our kindness, humility and grace wouldn’t expire with differing opinions, but grow in and respect that we all have different situations and not one size fits all in every situation. That through our example, our children will be full of kindness, humility and grace, forming a generational revolution of respect and critical thinking, that can put any cognitive dissonance and “us vs them” dichotomies, fuelling “mummy wars” in the back window, making them history.