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01 May 2010 @ 01:19 am
On Child Rearing  
- I started writing this one a week ago and never got around to finish it. But I have to post it because its stagnancy is bothering me.-
When I see an adult with a child, I think, "I am so glad I don't have one."

I'm now hypersensitive to the cultural differences associated with child development. My entire time in Senegal I lived with host families, all with at least a minimum of a half dozen kids, usually a lot more. This was the most time I'd spent with children in my entire life, bar none. I quickly realized how much more mature, capable, independent, and overall mentally healthy these children were compared to the American children I'd previously witnessed. The main causal difference is obviously parenting style. There is not one mother in the whole country who would call herself a "full time mom". That phrase now makes me laugh and be disgusted. Senegalese women work harder than just about anybody on the planet, I'm pretty sure. Children aren't raised by their mother, they're raised by their mother and their sisters and their brothers and their aunts and their uncles and their cousins and their dads and their nieces and their nephews and their other cousins and their adopted siblings and their in-laws and their friends and their housekeepers if they have them and their wits. Mom isn't spending all her time on her kids, she's got her sister's kids, and her brother's kids, and her little sisters and brothers, and all the other kids that hang around too.

Family. It's like the most basic thing a person would understand and I feel like I had no idea I didn't know what it meant until I saw people live -as a family-. I'd never felt what it was until I was there and I was -family-. I was telling my Wolof brother Medoune about how when my mother's parents died, she and her brother split up the money, each was unhappy with the what they got, and stopped speaking. He just plain knew, "That's crazy!"
"Family is family, you can't break that. I might be friends with somebody one time, and something happens, and that friend isn't a friend anymore, but Family is Family. If you're my sister, you're always my sister, no matter what."

I read on a blog the other day, "co-sleeping". First I had to realize what that referred to - sleeping in the same bed with you infant/toddler/child - and when I did realize that it was the new lingo in affluent forward thinking child raising lingo, I checked a scoff.

Why was it that my first reaction was to smile at my 20 year old brother Lamine and his naievity when he plainly stated he slept in his mother's bed even when I wasn't using his room? Why? Why didn't I understand fully how absolutely wonderful it is for a grown man to love his mother as the goddess she is?
Creationactpassive on May 1st, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)
I've kind of talked about this a little with my mom. She's Australian and all of her family still lives there. And she and my dad live in Oregon. And I live in Southern California and my brother lives in Montana and my dad's immediate family is scattered all over. Despite our weird "full-time mom" culture, we are all so transplanted and place so little importance on the WHOLE family structure. As Americans we tend to have this crazy disconnect from the people and support system that should be the most important part of our lives.
in the mouth of god all teeth are wisdom teeth.rawteeth on May 3rd, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
yeah, i don't think we value it the way that we should.