Compliance: Is It Worth The Sacrifice?

Relationships suffer and children get hurt through our need for their compliance to social & cultural norms. Can we separate from our need…

Photo by Annie Spratt

Relationships suffer and children get hurt through our need for their compliance to social & cultural norms. Can we separate from our need to be right long enough to build mutually beneficial relationships with our children?

Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise early, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. There’s no clever headlines and no script, just open and honest thoughts. I hope you enjoy the read. If you like this article please offer some love by hitting the 👏 cheers!

Having a family is a challenge right?

The Joy of being a parent can’t be overstated I feel, but it can be difficult. We leave behind the freedom of the single life to have a family but it’s worth the sacrifice.

I wonder though in that, is it really a sacrifice at all.

If you have no children you probably feel that from that standpoint, leaving the single life behind for kids would be a sacrifice. But to imagine change you don’t want will always feel counter to the current experience.

It’s generally only after the change takes place that we gain the benefit.

We are continually tested by our kids and that’s the way it should be.

You and I can learn so much about ourselves from the interactions with our children if we’re willing to be open to it. That is, if we’re willing, not only to pay lip service to the idea but to actually practice it.

To realise perhaps, that we’re not always right in our imposition of cultural and societal ideas. Consider maybe that we’re not here as the teachers but as the ones that need to be taught.

Or maybe it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

Like the old Zen saying goes; We are like pebbles in a bag, polishing each other.

I’m currently writing The Artist’s Manifesto, a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from my site in PDF with paperback out on 2nd April 2018. Grab your FREE PDF copy here.

Where The Problem Lies

They push us daily to the pin of our collars and we can often find ourselves losing the plot with them for minor incidents.

I do it. I can see it happening like a slow-motion car crash.

In retrospect I think to myself, there must be some kind of learned automatic behaviour going on here because this is not the choice I would gladly, consciously make.

I’m regretful that I didn’t hold it together, that I didn’t show some composure and deliver a measured response like I’m supposed to.

I decide the standard for my behaviour you see — it’s my call.

Afterwards, there’s just a bad feeling all around. What better indicator do we need that the course of action wasn’t the right one.

That’s not a question by the way.

As parents, we generally support each other in the ok-ness of it all. As if an adult who should know better is somehow justified standing over a child delivering a tirade of criticism and verbal abuse.

We get the quiet that we were craving, the space to do other things and somehow the action is now justified.

We refer back when we were kids how we got the cane or the brush handle and rationalise our now more mature, measured approach to parenting.

Our kids are so much better off now, aren’t they?

Yeah…from whose perspective?

What We’re Willing To Sacrifice

I actually started out this short article with the intention of addressing the subject of other people minding our kids while we work, but I went in another direction.

Maybe I’ll address that again one other morning.

It appears to me that we live these lives constantly sacrificing what is true, right and proper for what is culturally required and habitual.

The above is an important consideration for us as both from the perspective of the parent and the whole-self regardless of our insistence that we are justified in our verbal abuse of our kids.

It’s not only with our children we lose the plot.

As I wrote some time ago we regularly lose control in other relationships and in alone circumstances.

Like screaming at other drivers, or taking frustrations out on our partners, or subordinates in a work environment.

It has been my observation that many of us are not really in control at all. We move through this world on autopilot in the mistaken belief that we actually have a choice.

It appears that maybe we are more the expression of cultural momentum and learned behaviours than the conscious intention of self-directed beings.

We have more work to do methinks.

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What do youthinks?

This article, originally published on larrygmaguire.com 8th February 2018, has been edited for publication in Thoughts & Ideas

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