From the archives: 2001
Thanks to Taking Children Seriously in my everyday life…
…I have noticed that I have changed my mind about a lot of small practical every day things that used to bother me and made my life more complicated, even before the children. This has not happened only by thinking about them, but by doing things differently and after that realising that I’ve been extremely inflexible about how I view myself(and through that, others at times). I might still prefer certain things and I’m perfectly free to do as I wish but there is no self-sacrifice in helping children do similar things differently.
Once I realised this I also realised that I hadn’t been self-sacrificing at all, in certain areas. Nor did I defer. This hasn’t diminished “the practical doings”, BUT emotionally I feel completely different. Help feels like helping and not like a stress.
Change can be extremely good. That was one of my fears throughout my life. This fear of doing things/beginning to think differently caused a lot of mental pain for me. I even used to think that I was a very flexible person, and partly I was, otoh, not at all. I used to actively NOT think at all about painful issues, leading to big emotional outbursts at some point instead. Outbursts that never helped, because it hurt so much that I only endured and then pushed the subject away again in my mind, when I was exhausted enough. No growth happened. No new knowledge. Just going in circles.
The idea of little tyrants leading our lives is deeply entrenched I think. If we live by that attitude it affects them. It’s a statement of mistrust and not supportive of the capabilities children have. I don’t think certain expectations automatically lead to certain outcomes, but I do think that a negative assumption about where the line between self sacrifice and helping goes, actually creates more self-sacrifice in the mind of the person thinking about it.
I think the most difficult thing about all of this is to know oneself, and realising what kind of things are good things to do in order to help children(and oneself) grow knowledge.
It might be that some things one thought were perfectly fine wasn’t that at all, that the self-sacrifice was completely elsewhere, and vice versa. One might end up actually doing and thinking in ways that are very surprising if one does the, imo, mistake of comparing things too much, with other people, but also with our past self.
Kristel Nybondas, 2001, ‘Great change of mind without self-sacrifice’, https://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/great-change-of-mind-without-self-sacrifice/