Image: provided by Meggin Ball
“Why don’t you stick to talking about parenting? You’re talking about too much political stuff!” I follow a lot of parenting bloggers and sites, and this is a criticism I have often seen pushed back against them and it makes me utterly confused.
Parenting IS political.
You know how when you get pregnant, all of a sudden you see pregnant people EVERYwhere walking in the malls, on the streets, and on television? Of course, they have always been around, but because of your own personal experience, your perception is heightened and you feel a warm camaraderie with those who share your beautiful and terrible life stage.
And you know how once you birth your baby(ies), you can’t ever watch another birth story on TV or read about it without spontaneously combusting into all of the feels? All of a sudden, a baby in the news is no longer simply news, but draws our empathy as we imagine what if it were MY baby? How would it feel if my own flesh and blood were going through the terrible suffering happening in this brutal world?
This immediate connection we feel for other families, even strangers and those in faraway lands, is a most poignant reminder of how we belong to one another. Our humanity is bound up together in the shared experiences of bearing and giving life, and exploring together what brings fullness and joy as the same heartbeat that pulsates within me beats in yours. Regardless of skin color, economic status, culture or history, we share a common fate of birth, life, and death. Parenting brings this awareness into a sharp focus.
Cornel West says justice is what love looks like in public.
Politics is what parenting looks like in public.
There is no hierarchy of one form of love to another. Love isn’t limited to one format. Sometimes it looks like doing dishes, washing the laundry, and rocking a baby to sleep. Other times it looks like calling your government rep, filling out protest signs, and taking to the street. Love is love is love.
What better lesson to teach our children than to show them with our own lives that we will strive to make things better in the world for ourselves and for others? With every act of resistance we are empowering them to overcome the struggles they will face in their own lives. Each time we raise our voice publicly, we are communicating to our children that theirs is a unique voice that deserves to be heard in the world as well.
For those of us who are compelled by our faith in Jesus, it is our moral imperative to love our neighbors as ourselves. And as parents whose calling is to care for our children, we must also care for other people’s children. When other people’s children thrive, so will ours. We rise together.
So my question is how can parents NOT be political? How can we stay silent when there are children who need food, water, shelter, education, and healthcare? How can we keep little babies fleeing war from finding safety from trauma and toil? How can we not rid the damning voices of homophobia from gay youth, clear toxicity of racism from children of color, resist the powers who seek to silence our little girls?
Parenting is political. Don’t wait to love publicly. The time is now.
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