Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Grab a cup of tea, it's a long one...

I’m harking back now, to that tricky issue of how best to maintain my values with my children, in a culture that doesn’t share many of my values.

I guess this is an issue for all families who interact with others, unless of course you make a conscious choice to interact only with those who share your values. I understand that there are people out there who do interact only with those who share like religious or political views. I’m not sure how the heck they manage that – or perhaps, more importantly, if it’s ever desirable to live in that way. I’d hate to think of all the lost possibilities if I defined my community too closely and restrictively. After all, in my experience, people rarely come with a label. It’s just not so simple case as, ‘Oh, there goes Daisy the peaceful parenting, eco friendly, Liberal voting, green tea drinker’. The point I’m making is that even were it possible to live a compartmentalized life, in an existence surrounded by those with identical values, how on earth would you know who they were? Is it not always necessary to take the plunge and risk having your values challenged?

I’ve concluded, that for me, I must take that risk. What’s more, perhaps there’s much to be gained by occasionally having our values challenged. It’s been a long summer in many respects. Holidays started early, routine has been late in returning. There’s been plenty of opportunity on my part to shine bright lights in the nooks and crannies. There have also been various happenings which have highlighted ways in which I feel differently to others.

Personally, I always feel a bit of a wrench deep inside when I realize that my values are different to those who I previously assumed shared the same values as me. It’s not so much the feeling of being a square peg in a round hole; believe me, I’m no stranger to that feeling. I’m happy to be that square peg, providing I am at peace with myself.

But am I at peace with myself? Do my values still hold strong in the face of change, growth and the ongoing maturity of my children? Few things ever stay the same and perhaps it follows that our values should be responsive to our ever changing lives.

This summer I have taken a whole heap of things which I consider to make up much of my core. I’ve dissected them, remodeled them, shaken them up and finally retried them all for size, ditching those that no longer fit.

So, what do you do when having identified your values, and lived life in accordance with those values, someone then comes along and challenges them? I don’t have the definitive answer to this, but perhaps you could learn from my mistakes and ensure your values are still a good fit before doing anything.

I’ve acquired a few little gadgets during my blog break – it’s that darned Facebook – it lured me into rampant consumerism! Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I am now the very happy owner of a Kindle. Despite being initially skeptic, I was quickly won over. Not only is it lighter to hold and easier to turn the pages when lying in an awkward position with a sleeping child on one of your limbs, there are also lots of books on there at bargain basement prices. I love being able to flick through and snap up titles for less than a pound, delivered straight into my lap! This is how a nice girl like me came to be reading Bullies, Bitches and Bastards. I assure you I’m much more your usual cookery and crafting kinda girl. Honest.

This book details many scenarios, and advances various suggestions, for dealing with those who could be on a mission to annihilate your values.

Perhaps, next time you see someone approaching who you know to hold considerably different values to you, you could raise a hand and tell them, ‘Do you know what. Let’s not bother. You don’t like me and I sure as hell don’t like you.’

Hmmm, I see the merit in that approach. I’m sure it would provide instant gratification, but possibly not much more of note.

There’s another approach in the book that I thought I’d mention – spadism. Spadism differs from sadism in that a spadist doesn’t just call a spade a spade, they call it a JCB. I think I’ve met a few spadists in my time – I just didn’t know their generic name before. Haven’t we all entered into what we hoped to be positive dialogue just to be blown out with blunt (although not always accurate) blows?

I don’t want to be a spadist. It’s not helpful and could be dangerous. As it says in Bullies, Bitches and Bastards, ‘what she doesn’t realize is that while she’s extolling the virtues of spadism, most people around are thinking, ‘What I’d give for a spade right now. I’d cleave her bloody bonce in.’

So, where does this leaves me when tricky situations arise? I don’t want to change other people’s values, I just want my values to be afforded respect, as I respect others. One of the main difficulties as I see it is that the issue can become circular. If I am troubled because I believe that someone is not respecting my need for peace or honesty, then will any discussions which I instigate about the problem be positive, if that person has no regard for peace and honesty and responds in a dishonest or aggressive way?

Sometimes there doesn’t really seem to be a solution, other than to walk away. That saddens me and I would like to think it could be different. Why do I sometimes feel there is no option other than to step back from the rim? I believe that all beliefs are valid, in space and time. Perhaps it follows that although I can fully understand and respect an opposing view (as I place it in the context of the time and space in which it arose), there will be times and places in which that will not play any positive role in my personal world. That’s not to say that it doesn’t deserve respect – it does. It’s just to say that it plays no part in the here and now for me.

I guess this is one I’ll go on pondering for ever and a day, but in the meantime, I’d like to point out that having finished Bullies, Bitches and Bastards I’m now thoroughly enjoying The Help. I’m less than half way through it but it’s turning out to be a real page turner.

Would anyone else care to share how they maintain the values which are dear to them?

1 comment:

Bridget said...

Oh My Goodness, you've opened a can of worms here! I think I've learnt to pick my battles, with the children there are some things I don't mind, others I would prefer they didn't do and then there's the absolute no-nos. So I only reprimand the absolute no-nos because otherwise I wold be telling them off all day. So I try to apply this to life, I will only take task with something that I completely think is wrong. At the same time I'm comfortable with what we do ( which I wasn't always) so when I know I'm right I won't bother to argue because sometimes people simply won't listen as they think they're right, I do just walk away, if they don't want to listen to another point of view then it's their lives that are lacking. I'm quite open minded but a lot of people aren't , it use to annoy me that because we home-ed we're in the wrong, we're the wierdos, when I know we're not. I walk away thinking their life is lacking not mine, the same with people who have very little values. We do mix with loads of other people but the ones I hold dearest are the ones who have the same values as me. Why do I read your blog, because you have the same thoughts as me and live your life along a parallel line to mine, that attracts me to you, so I think we naturally gravitate to like minded people. I hope all this makes sense, your post was very thught provoking and it'll be interesting to read any other comments to see what other people think.