One Strong Belief by Buster Benson
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
This sounds so familiar to me. Yet to express in public a belief strikes terror in my heart. For I have seen the destructive power of strong beliefs and ideas all too often. From close by. The burden of being born in a family of believers in science.
The first belief that I have conquered battling my background, that still does not come to me naturally, is that in the value of relationship. I must make an effort on a daily basis to remember the bond between me and any fellow human - my husband, my son, my daughter, someone I meet on the street or online - is invisible but all encompassing. In the encounter lies the world of wrongs and rights.
The second - can I? - is the one that slowly dawned on me since I became a parent, three and a half years ago. Parenting did not come naturally to me. Diapers, feeding and comforting - the first year - were easy enough. But then: boundaries. I did not know how to start, where to focus. I felt lost.
The rescuing belief was, that parenting demands, or is equal to, emotional leadership. Ah, there's the knot. I interpret emotional leadership the way Cesar Millan leads his dogs: calm assertiveness. I must lead my family by showing calm, and a quiet but certain sense of direction. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am not by default a calm person. I need to tap into a not so well trained side of me. That's one challenge. But this parenting thing - we do it together. So when our eldest crosses a line, I try to remain calm. Showing him clearly what we expect of him. But I can react emotionally - and so can my husband. We does not necessarily see eye to eye on this - he seems to consider anger instrumental in raising the children. This is hard, and especially the "perfect sweetness" Emerson mentions... Unattainable I am certain.
Then again, perfect parents make for horrible children, right?