I wouldn’t do it that way…

Life is complicated. It is subjective, and no matter how hard we try to remain objective, to look at the world at a distance, our beliefs and experiences make their mark. We are informed by our biases. Raising children is the greatest example of this.

People who chose to not examine their actions and words appear to live a far simpler life. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t follow that path, and teach my children to do the same. Sometimes what they bring home to share with me makes me so proud of them, and makes me realise just how difficult their father and I may have made the rest of their lives, for them. Although our attitudes and opinions will undoubtedly influence their decisions, we like to think we are teaching them to think for themselves.

The short story: Daughter has a group project to do. The group is made up of her friends, who she has now known for 6 years. They were asked to select a target group and to ‘sell’ it to that target group. Daughter came up with, what sounded to me, a brilliant idea and currently quite popular: selling ready made meals targeted to people who are or who are thinking of becoming vegan.

Sounds exciting. I was excited for her. They aren’t doing this, now, however, and the reason makes me despair. One of the young people in the group refuses to proceed with the idea, and it’s her reason for not wanting to proceed with it that bothers me, rather than her objection wholesale: her father disdainfully said ‘I’d never buy into that.’

These are young adults. This is their project. If the Dad had said ‘how are you going to target meat eaters?’ or ‘have you properly costed the packaging required’ he would be throwing practical problems that would teach them about finding solutions collectively. She could have responded to her father in a meaningful way. Instead, he dismissed the project with the subjective and emotionally laden ‘I’, a father subjecting his will on the child: that doesn’t reflect who ‘we’ are.

I clarify that we are not vegan in this house, and Daughter in question is a committed carnivore.

I am projecting my frustration with the obstacle this adult has thrown in the path of this group of young people who are trying to find their way through this group project together. I am also frustrated that the project idea collapsed so quickly. There may be other obvious reasons that it did, but the main reason to not proceed with it appears to be “My Dad didn’t like the idea,” and that depresses me.

So, no, I wouldn’t do it that way…or at least I try to not do it that way.

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