Without Kids, What Would I Know Worth Knowing?

31 05 2008

What would I be doing now without kids?

In my life parenting has been a real education. So I guess without kids, I’d just be uneducated!

This is funny to me now, in light of all the formal schooling I had under my belt before I had kids. By 30 I had earned my doctorate and some worldly responsibility for other people’s children, for the structure and process of THEIR educations.

If I didn’t have children of my own to think about, I’d still be thinking about kids and education and getting paid for it, but my own education would have a big black light-sucking hole in it and I’d probably never even know it.

And without having kids who changed my life, would I be a systems thinker? What I’ve learned by living this life as mom to these children, is that moms don’t only give life to their kids. We give life to ourselves in the process. Family life IS life itself, not a separate unit or system apart from the real world, not a straight line with ancestors and descendants going up and down in a family “tree.”

Family is organic process, not inert structure. Ever see the movie “Mindwalk” with Sam Waterston, John Heard and Liv Ullmann?

A Cartesian would conceptually take the tree to pieces but a systems thinker would see the seasonal exchange between tree and earth, earth and sky, the breadth of life, the life of the tree in relation to the life of the forest, and as a home for insects and the fruits it produces – not as something separate, but a member of a larger living system.

Web of relationships is the essence of all living things.

This is a scientific fact. The theory of living systems is an outline of an answer to “what is life?”

I couldn’t know without actually having them but I’ve learned well by now, that being a mom to these kids is the essence of my life, the central hub for my web of relationships. I can’t take it to pieces to see how it works, or swap the parts around, put it back together again in alternate form to see what might have been.

I think in the process of learning so much from having these kids, I’ve learned to respect the unknowable, to be humble before its power. That isn’t a religious statement to me. It’s just life as I know it. 🙂



14 responses

31 05 2008
Not June Cleaver

So maybe I wouldn’t be such a conflicted parent if I just look at it differently! I really don’t love being a mom. Oh wait, I actually do love being a mom. Or do I? I definitely agree that I have grown because of them. I think (and I should have written this in my post) that I would be a very different person if I had not experienced this (and like Doc said, I’d still think homeschoolers are weird).

31 05 2008

LOL, this has been a great wiki week, hasn’t it?

1 06 2008
Not June Cleaver

I have particularly enjoyed reading the entries this week. I’m actually trying to formulate my entry for next time too. I love Obama and I want to make the best of my 30 seconds!

1 06 2008

To do that, you’ll have to talk faster than he does! 🙂

Did you hear his great line at Mount Rushmore the other day? They asked him if he could see himself immortalized up there someday and he said something like, nah, my ears are too big . . .

1 06 2008
Not June Cleaver

Great response!

1 06 2008

His slower speaking style is one of the things DH and I have agreed we like about Obama! It’s almost as if he is thinking about what he is saying. . . 🙂


1 06 2008

What a wonderful post!

If I didn’t have children of my own to think about, … my own education would have a big black light-sucking hole in it and I’d probably never even know it.

We don’t know what we don’t know. What a great thing to know 🙂

1 06 2008

And what better way to learn it than by parenting? A crap shoot every day!

Thanks Lynn. I was just thinking no one would stop by to appreciate this post because smegma wasn’t mentioned in it . . .

And what would YOU know about that, btw, if not for having a child who has a horse who has it? 😉

2 06 2008

would YOU know about that, btw, if not for having a child who has a horse who has it?

Yes 🙂

And, perhaps, you wouldn’t know (more than you cared to) about horse smegma had you not had children, that you homeschool, which you blogged about, at a time that I was blogging, about homeschooling, which I am doing but wouldn’t be, had I not had children…

So, does that make horse smegma a metaphor of some kind?

2 06 2008


2 06 2008

Something Holly wrote here:

In unschooling our children we deschool ourselves. We unravel the layers of conditioning and negative socialization we’ve experienced at the hands of the public school system. It is a healing process.

27 06 2008

Cross-posting a comment I wrote last Christmas because it fits here:
The huge change in becoming a parent myself was knowing I knew nothing, and not having my mom or grandmom to guide me in those early days.

So, “parent education” was immediate for me and meant education of parents, not education BY parents.

I gave myself a crash course in each stage of development, learning many things the hard way but having great fun and then just as I’d get comfortable, her next level was pushing my own education forward faster than it could travel, and I would race ahead with the wind in my hair, unable to see around the curves (or read the map — Lynn, have you had a map this whole time you weren’t sharing?? I need a tutorial and never mind who gets the official credits!)

What I’m feeling now is still that — whoops, time for me to learn a bunch of new stuff about parenting this incredible young woman without even the tenuous “frame” of home education we’ve had for 12 years.

It hadn’t occurred to me to ponder whether she needs to know stuff she doesn’t know yet because if I still do, then surely she must, and always will . . .

21 06 2010
Why Educate Our Kids? So They Can See They Can’t See! « Cocking A Snook!

[…] “Without kids, what would I know worth knowing?” for example, look pretty smart to anyone who reads far enough: ERROL MORRIS: Knowing what you […]

20 08 2010
We Need to Sing Our Epics or Lose Them « Cocking A Snook!

[…] memes, Richard Florida and his “creative class” plus meaningful movies from Milk and Mindwalk to Hairspray and Madagascar, not to mention Harry Potter and Stanley Fish, plus the leading science […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: