Why Being Flexible Doesn't Have To Mean Compromising Your Principles
Wouldn't life just be so much easier if I just relaxed and didn't have a specific idea about how I wanted to parent Arjun? I have my moments when I feel like that. But most of the time I embrace the fact that I have certain rules that I stick to because they are in keeping with my principles and there are some things that I just will not compromise on.
Raising my child vegan is one and raising my child kindly, gently and with respect is another. I also want to live as free from materialism as possible and I want to impart this to my child. This doesn’t mean not having stuff. We have stuff and we like nice stuff. It just means not being attached to the stuff we have and realising that it does not define us. I am constantly torn between the desire to get my kid presents and to teach him about why it’s my presence that matters, not the toys we buy him. But what I have realised is that it does not necessarily have to be one or the other. We went through a period where I had said to our closest family to not get Arjun gifts because it would encourage materialism in him and even though I thought I was doing the right thing, it didn’t feel very good. Of course presence is more important than presents. But was stopping family from getting him things the answer? Maybe the joy felt by both parties of giving and receiving is worth the extra 'stuff'? And we've asked them to limit their gifts to the natural and wooden variety, so is it really the end of the world? Maybe not.
When we go to shops Arjun often grabs the most garish, noisy, electronic plastic toy 😂. So once in while is it the worst thing to get it for him? Showing him that I listened to him. I saw what he was drawn to and actually listened. While it's not ideal and certainly doesn't tie in with trying to live a low impact lifestyle, it is something that would make him feel heard.
As long as his diet and the way he is treated is not compromised, there is room for a little flexibility. There is room for other points of view. There is room for the idea that we all approach things differently and that's OK.
Also - responding to others instead of reacting.