Navigating Without Fences

Countryside Bike Ride

What other people think of you is not your business. If you start to make that business your business, you will be offended the rest of your life.” – Deepak Chopra

The world in general is not always the easiest to navigate, much less that of children and parents. Lately, it seems the new thing to do is to declare your style of parenting. Do you do this and not that? And if you fall on the opposite end of the question, you are immediately ostracized by the said community. But where does this leave us? We are left with a bunch of fences and not many friends. It is a hard call, as many of these issues are so personal. If you choose X and your neighbor chooses Y, the more information that can be spread that backs up side X, well, you win. You are the better parent, the smarter person, overall the better person. Yet, when side Y gets a win, well, then you are a failure as a parent and an overall horrible person.

Many times, the need to be right and prove others wrong simply comes from the falsehood that showing the weak points in others will hide our own perceived inadequacies. Ultimately, we have to live with ourselves, and not the reflection we want others to see. (Who knows what their mirror looks like?) If we could just be comfortable in our own decisions, and not need to prove ourselves, flowerbeds could be planted instead of building fences.

What would the world be like if we could acknowledge there might be truth to both sides, and yet know that the decision we have made – for today – is the best for us and our family. Our truths are different from our neighbor. We have become so secular in our attitudes, so black and white, that we fail to see the colors in between. We all have had experiences that shape who we are today, and shape our present and future decisions. What you say and do today may not be the same a month from now. And that is okay. Equally, it is okay for your neighbor, too.


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