Learning to Live or Living to Learn | Labels & Boxes
About one year ago, everything I thought I knew started to change. Many of my beliefs and ideas about life, living, children & more started to instead become questions… I started researching everything from natural living to different parenting styles, & everything in between. After many hours of reading, watching videos, asking questions in forums, & observing those who lived these lifestyles in action, I felt fairly confident to “label” myself a Crunchy Christian mama practicing Attachment Parenting and it felt good to know who I was. However, flash forward a year, to present day, and here I am thinking how absolutely stupid and downright restrictive these (or any) labels can be!!!
One of the things that bothered me about most mainstream parenting/public school systems was putting our children into boxes, more specifically, labeling them. “This child is hyper-active, so he just MUST have ADHD.” “This child is reserved and quiet, so she’s definitely shy and sheltered.” “That boy likes to climb trees and chase dogs, he’s ornery and wayward!” Labeling our children almost invites or encourages them to fill these shoes. The other day my husband said something to me that reinforced this idea. I have this bad habit of assuming things, especially about those closest to me, because I feel like I know them. I know them well enough to place labels on them. I know them well enough to expect them to fill these expectations I have of them!
Me(while making dinner with one hand, and holding the baby with another): “so I guess you’re going to play that game again…”
Husband(about to take baby, but instead, leaves the kitchen and goes to pick up the Xbox controller)
Me “What are you doing??”
Husband: “What I’m expected to do”
[This was resolved, and he did end up holding her so I could make dinner, like he usually does – but this example shows that assumptions can lead to the outcome we are trying to avoid!]
I believe in positive thoughts, and to an extent, the Law of Attraction. Even the bible tells us to focus on things that are good, and not the bad. Anyway, why shouldn’t we use this process in all aspects of our life? Why not expect the best behavior from our children? Assume that our spouse is trying so hard to make us happy and not piss us off? Appreciate that everyone isn’t perfect, and maybe that woman who cut us off in traffic on a busy highway isn’t a vengeful speed demon bent on ruining our whole week and trying to cause an accident, and maybe she’s just a busy, tired, mom trying to make it to her only daughter’s dance recital on time? Instead of focusing on what could be, or what we perceive things to be, why don’t we start focusing on the good, and expecting it, instead of almost “summoning” the bad?
This is obviously something I’m still working on, and I’ll most likely never “get there”, but I’ll keep trying, striving, and asking God to help me! Let’s realize that our children, our spouse, and every single person we encounter is a unique and diverse individual with different thought processes, ideas, needs, wants, & goals than us, and we don’t have to put them in a neat little box to make ourselves comfortable. We shouldn’t assume the worst about someone just because it fits our preconceived ideas about who they are, what they’ve done in the past, and how we imagine that they feel about us. I don’t want to be labeled, so I’ll be the change that I want to see!