I absolutely love Women’s Day, not because we get the day off, but it makes me think a little bit about what it means to be a woman, especially in today’s world where anything and everything goes. Not that I am or ever was an angel, but I do look back at where my experience as a woman started and how it was guided by a mother who made sure I have a good foundation, regardless of teenage rebellion or mid-life crisis moments. The basics are there and I can always go back to it when I struggle with moral issues or more importantly have to raise my own daughter.
This is no easy task, and I am sure every generation has their challenges when it comes to raising a child (I’m thinking walkmans, hard rock, roller scates and bubblegum for my mom). For me, definitely the challenges of excessive information available at all times to everyone by the click of a button, so give her a mobile phone and she will have access to a world I simply have no control over (well not exactly, but very limited control).
What will she learn from that world of information? What will she take from it if I don’t give her the proper looking glass and filtering skills, to keep what is good and discard what is bad.
It is such a fine balance between making her street wise but locking in good old fashioned values. I see no point in raising a daughter sheltered from reality, she needs to be equipped to deal with whatever is out there, but she needs to do this through the eyes of innocence. What a task! How do I do this?
I go back to my upbringing, there are things that I wouldn’t repeat in raising my child, but there definitely are things that I am passing on to her, because it enriched my life and it gave me tools to survive tough times, both mentally and financially.
One of my friends always challenges us by asking, what would your value be if everything had to blow up: no electricity, no cellphones, no internet, no laptops, no credit cards, no codes. How would you survive or earn a living? I know, ridiculous question right, like that would ever happen! Or is it ridiculous? It is a question about what other things you can do except scroll on a phone and make calls and swipe a card. In other words do you have some skills sister?
The skills I want Mishka to have are very simple but very useful and that is why I involve her in everything I do in and around the house. Not chores, fun! She’s been sitting in my kitchen since she was old enough to sit by herself, watching mommy gather ingredients for cakes, stews and some very complex french cuisine. I didn’t force her, I simply included her. Today, as a seven year old, she gathers her own ingredients and asks me for recipes. I am so proud!
This weekend my mom completed an heirloom crochet blanket, our whole family was in awe of the detail and skill that went into that work of art. What does it take to make something so astonishing. Firstly the desire to create, then some skill picked up from someone who had the patience to teach you, then all of your extra time and love, woven into every block and stitch. It doesn’t get more special than that. I am lucky, because my mom showed me the basics, I can build on it, and now I can show my daughter, and she will one day want to show hers. So its not just a skill, it’s a gift to pass on. Does it have a place in a world of artificial intelligence and everything quick and easy? Who knows what life will be like for her as a 45 year old? I only know that I gave her something that she can use one day.
I was happy to come across this when I did some research about old fashioned values:
Young people are starting to see the value of etiquette. Some like to write this off as an old-fashioned concept, but etiquette will always be relevant, because it’s about human interaction.’
As middle-aged parents, we have come a long way, raised in the 80’s (the start of anything goes), all the way through the technology driven 90’s and millennium, to now where organic, authentic, handmade, plastic-free and community driven projects are hip and in. In a way we are lucky, we are street wise but also old fashioned. We can give our children so much in terms of old fashioned values but keeping an open mind.
I am a keen supporter of tea parties and crafts as much as I am of technological advancement. I want Mishka to have it all, but I never want her to lose her ability to recognise value in people, in nature and tangible life.