Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 55

PARENTING FOR CHANGE: COLLABORATING WITH OUR CHILDREN Following in the footsteps of our beloved de- ceased sister Inbal, and seeing that our contin- ued existence as a species emerging from the lineage of the biology of love is endangered, we recognize more deeply her call to action. She knew that at least some of us, somewhere, need to find a way to do the near-impossible— parenting outside the patriarchal norms—in order to make a future truly possible. This is a key way in which we can create support for this generation of children to carry forward and conserve a renewed capacity to live in the biology of love. This means nothing less than supporting children in having the freedom to disobey. We are under no illusion that this in itself will transform the entire miasma of patriarchy. As we hope we have made clear earlier, changing patriarchy requires transforming the actual systems of patriarchal capitalism, at this point at the global level. Still, oases are key as we march through the current desert hoping to reach flow again. The systemic and the individ- ual are intertwined. We don’t get to know what our tiny individual efforts could make hap- pen, what would be reabsorbed by the existing systems, and what would ripple into larger changes. For as long as we are individuals or families caught in the desert, being supported, soothed, and nourished along the way, before we take the next lonely step, is an integral part of any picture of large social change. What would this look like? Those of us car- ing for children will be called to find a way to provide enough freedom and enough security, through love, trust, play, and ongoing gifting, so that our children can develop fully. If we manage to remove the intense pressure to con- sider a tradeoff between core needs, maybe our children will be able to continue the path of VOL. 34, NO. 1 love with less effort than it took us. Maybe this will mean they can pass it on to their next gen- eration without the heroic efforts our genera- tion of parents is asked to undertake given the intensity of external and internal conditions of patriarchy. This means nothing short of fully orienting to children’s needs without giving up on our own; working out disagreements without ever resorting to punishment, including guilt as a form of self-punishment; encouraging chil- dren’s own choices and responsibility without invoking “shoulds” or praise in the name of concern about their future; listening to chil- dren, taking their ideas seriously, and exercis- ing respect for who they are and what they are trying to teach us; using force in extremely rare circumstances, only when imminent physical risk is present; and making decisions with chil- dren and not for children, fully expressing our own needs, too, in ongoing collaborative dia- logue consistent with our evolutionary legacy. If this feels overwhelming, it’s because it is… Every step of the way is fraught with internal and external obstacles: others will often object; institutions will push back against our fledg- ling efforts; and our inner capacity will waver. In addition to ongoing practice, this will re- quire a deep internal decision. This is why sup- port structures for parents, which are almost absent, are so vitally necessary. We offer, below, a few words about key practices that can sup- port parents in this monumental shift. This is only a skeleton, a conceptual map of the path, not a full practical blueprint, which we hope to create in an upcoming book. Self-empathy: The moments of stress, the legacy of patriarchy, and the absence of sup- port structures make collaborative parenting immensely challenging. As much as possible, take time, while not interacting with your children, to connect with your own needs and © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 55