If you’re prone to throwing shade at GenerationX, you might comment OK, Heather, to everything I’m about to write. There is a lot of derisive slang being slung, which only serves to divide us further, alas. The people who raised me are squarely in the Boomer Gen. We do not always see eye-to-eye, but I still love them dearly. I’m raising two teenagers, who are GenZ, and I’m told they’d like to be known as Zoomers. As in, they are moving faster with technology than I can hope to comprehend. They aren’t wrong; my son is our corporation’s new IT guy. No really, he is.
I’ve devoted my life to being the best mother I know how to be. Everything I’ve done with my life is my gift to my children, in one way or another. I may be a Heather, but I’ve tried to change the world I inherited from my Boomer parents, into a better inheritance for those generations who follow in my wake; service is my love language. Name-calling is beneath my dignity.
I am also a radically-progressive, feminist, neo-pagan witch, so this colors my approach to both life and parenting in a way that often confounds the surrounding folks still steeped in the old-fashioned, conservative republican, protestant, sexist ways of the boomer generation that preceded me. There have been times when I had to armor up and go to battle against their grandparents to preserve my right to raise my own children according to my differing ideals.
Pagan Parenting Ideals can Upset the Cart of Rotten Apples
This is in part why I gave up my previous profession in commercial interior design to stay home with my babies until they entered elementary school; to raise them with my own two hands, intentionally and thoughtfully steeped in my love and ideals. This is also in small part why I am now divorced. When it comes to the well-being of my children, I will make the hard choices. When it comes to how I contribute to this world in all ways, I try to make the “right” choices, regardless of how that upsets the established apple cart–especially when that cart is full of rotten apples.
Naturally, I think these witchy ideals are morally and ethically superior to the mainstream options laid before me; that is why I chose them, but I did not do so lightly. True witches can see a clear path through the madness, discern a clear truth despite the consensus of lies that society’s sheep keep bleating. To a true witch, there is no other choice to make but the glaringly obvious one. Our reality just keeps screaming up from the depths until it is acknowledged as the only honest way to live.
But isn’t the same thing true for anybody? This is why there is contention in our society; we all think our chosen position is the best one. We each judge which ideals are the best ones by which to live, based on the information we have, and our understanding of that information. Sadly, we aren’t all presented with equal opportunities or access to correct information.
Ok, Boomer. That is NOT OK.
There is currently a trending generational “meme war” waging. It’s been entirely too trendy to sneer at Millennial Hipsters, and blame them for ruining everything. OK, Boomer, they retort with the well-deserved eye-roll. Thanks for nothing, Heather, comes the offensive from the youth. OK, Zoomer, we defend.
The grit here is that each generation evolves our species a bit further along. Each generation takes up the work, gaining new information and furthering our understanding. By default the grandkids will have a vastly different understanding of a vastly different world than did their great grandparents. That is how nature works, y’all. In order to survive as a species, we MUST evolve our understanding, and then adapt our behavior accordingly, or we die.
Survival of the fittest applies to intelligence as much as it once counted for speed and agility to escape natural predators along the food chain. The modern predators now wear expensive suits, control access to healthcare, and hide all the resources in off-shore accounts, but the patriarchal dominance game is still in play.
The more information we have, the more likely we are to behave differently. This is why there will always be fundamental arguments between highly educated people and those who remain bound in ignorance. This also explains the contention between generations. Old folks all caught up in their own egos don’t much appreciate how younger folks change the status quo, because it challenges who they were and their own choices and actions.
For example: whipping your trusting, powerless young child with your belt, might have been common parenting practice in the 1950’s, but today, decent people call that “assault and battery,” and “child abuse.” If your parents raised you this way, and you turned it onto your own kids, you’ll be challenged to accept that you were both an abused child, and an abusive parent. That is really hard to accept. And no, you didn’t “turn out ok.” If you still think violence against children is an effective way to raise responsible adults, you are not ok.
By the same token, if you still think it is “great” to systematically deny the basic civil rights, human dignity, and “freedom to pursue happiness” of other human beings, based on your irrational fears of their heritage, physical appearance, gender identity, sex, or sexual preference? You are not ok.
Similarly, if you still think it is acceptable to keep making every stupid thing out of single-use plastic, waging endless war so you can power everything by burning fossil fuel, and then just chuck all the toxic refuse into our waterways? If you cheer for the right of billionaire corporations to systematically poison our air, our food, our land, our water, and ultimately our cancerous bodies…all without a lick of regulation? If you still think it’s ok that these mega-corporations have no obligation to pay their fair share of corporate taxes to help clean up this evil mess they made, and provide universal healthcare to ease the suffering they inflict upon the poisoned masses? You are clearly not ok.
Less Shade, More Grace
I can identify that ideas and actions are inherently wrong, and yet not succumb to similar hatefulness. I don’t blame the bigoted MAGA, KKK, NEO-NAZI folks among us for being so ugly afraid and behaving so godsawful badly! I can see that they are mortally-wounded victims of the bullshit traumas inflicted upon them in their own childhoods, by the bullshit society they grew up in, made by their equally traumatized and wounded parents in the “Greatest Generation.” And so on, and so forth, all the way back to father Abraham. The patriarchal bullshit just keeps rolling downhill.
I won’t hate these folks for their ignorant, twisted and depraved actions; I pity them, because I know down in the deepest reaches of my cosmic divine soul that we all come to this life made of divine love, for the purpose of creating through divine love. It is NOT our human nature to be evil jerks; it is this evil society which corrupts some of us into evil jerks. It’s been a never ending circle of jerks, and that cycle has to be interrupted by somebody, so it might as well be the witches of the world.
As far as I can tell by reading the witching blog-o-sphere, Witches of all ages see a differently lit path through the dark quagmire of this American Generational battlefield. The educated and awakened folks among us cannot allow those blinded, wounded and dying relics of the old order (regardless of their age) to keep throwing their temper-tantrums, and bullying the other kids on our common playground. Witches, like the good parents of the world, take up the banner of social action to correct the human course back into loving balance. The answer to every problem is love in some form. Sometimes love is a spanking, sometimes love is a hug, sometime love is a nice, long time-out in a Federal Prison. <cough<impeach>cough>
Modern Witches are here now to create a new kind of society starting in our own homes and lives. We contribute to a new order based on ideals of compassion and responsibility. We do so by standing up to the elder-bullies, healing ourselves, changing our behavior and lifestyles, and raising up the next generation in a different way…a way based on loving respect, human dignity, acceptance of our diversity, and responsible preservation of the living earth which sustains us all.
I’m a GenX “Heather,” who is struggling to raise my “zoomers” into a stewardship of a hopelessly broken world. I work happily alongside enlightened and inspiring Millennials every day, whose eyes are just as open to see this broken world for what it is as I am. I accept that as I grow into the prime of my life, it is my duty to step up and work hard to reshape this society based on what I’ve learned from the mistakes of my parents, and the extensive education they insisted that I acquire. I accept all the new research my generation added to the human body of knowledge, and now I will take my turn at the helm to implement that understanding. We’ve all evolved beyond the limitations of our upbringing, and it is GenX’s time to step into leadership, make a better plan, and repair what our parents neglected.
Change is hard. Replacing the rotten foundation footers upon which a generation built their whole sense of place and purpose, may feel threatening and terrifying to those still blinded. Nevertheless, their retirement is at hand. To those of us who see so clearly the doom that would come from non-action, we too will someday know the relief of safety that results from doing this treacherous work we inherited. It is up to us to retire those evils from power, but it can be our choice to do that work with less shade, and far more grace.