Friday, January 1, 2010

This Path

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.
~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.
~ Maria Montessori

If we wish to create a lasting peace we must begin with the children.
~ Mahatma Gandhi




Twenty years ago, when I was finishing university as a Business Major in the age of Gordon Gecko, I aspired to a corner office, a BMW and annual vacation on the Riviera.

Ten years later I aspired to be a good mother while juggling a part time job - the last vestiges of my business career.

Now I have given up high heels in favour of hiking boots, a BMW in favour of a minivan with more orange peels and wayward socks hidden in the seats than I can imagine, the nanny in favour of homeschooling and my goal of being financially rich in favour of the goal of making a difference with, for and because of my kids. I aspire now to becoming a Raging Granny someday.

This path I am on has taken me places I never would have imagined. The ground is shifting under my feet and I can see that my dreams for my children are causing me to change my direction again. I am learning that the things I want for them can not be achieved in isolation. If I want peace for them, clean water, social justice, tolerance and acceptance, I can not work towards those things without doing it on behalf of all the children. I am learning I can not teach them about peaceful solutions, critical thinking or the need for action without demanding the same of myself.

I am not an expert on any of this - on parenting or social justice or environmentalism or peace activism. My knowledge of history and geography are far less developed than that of my 11 year old son. I took marketing in university while my more enlightened friends studied women's issues and community development. I attended my first rally of any kind when I was well into my 30s. Every day I learn more from my children about generosity, compassion, kindness and the need for action than I can ever hope to teach them. This blog is my way of collecting and sharing resources that are changing the ground under my feet and helping me prepare my kids for a world I can't even imagine. I'd love it if you would join me on the journey.

Do not hang back from involvement in addressing the problems of the world, waiting to become an expert. You are expert enough. Take your part in the great dramas and the great struggles now still in their opening acts in this world. It is the part where you storm on stage with a confused but mischievous look and the audience cheers you madly. Don't wait to know the part too well, or the moment will pass without you.
- Doris "Granny D" Haddock, 93

3 comments:

Jenni said...

Thanks! You have just described me. Wow. I often don't feel "authentic" because I am coming to the game so late compared to friends and because I have no "experience". I know what you are saying and I appreciate a common spirit.

Jo said...

Karen,
Thanks so much for sharing this. You make it easier for us all to be better Mamas.

Karen said...

Hi Jenni - Thanks for stopping by. I often feel like I don't have the background knowledge to understand all of the nuances but it also gives me the opportunity to teach my children about thinking things through critically, and researching and listening to different viewpoints. I hope you will share more of your perspectives here!

Joanna - you are way to kind - lol. I'm glad you like the blog.