Thursday, 27 September 2012

Raising the Girl

The Girl was a toddler when I began this weblog, and her tiny milestones marked the passing of days. Now she is eight – a different child, who curls up and reads books silently to herself, retains increasing control over her temper and exuberance, and asks difficult questions that demand carefully worded answers. Mistakes made with a small child can generally be rewritten, but the memories we create in older children will last long after we are gone.

As we walk the white and empty roads together, we pick up the bottles and cans like they were Easter eggs. We talk about our neighbours, and occasionally check on them. We sing folk songs that people sang for hundreds of years until recently, and talk about whatever is blooming or fruiting by the roadside and what you can do with it.

Part of me would like to raise her entirely apart from the world, sheltered from the deformities of modern culture. But the world seeps in everywhere, and while I can mind what she hears from television, advertisements and her friends, I also accept that she will learn valuable things from them that I cannot teach.

All I can do is filter the strange world our species has made, explain its foolishness and prepare her for it, so that she can one day live in the world and yet stand apart from it. I hope she can represent a different set of values, so that as more people are forced to return to older ways again, she will be there to welcome them.  


M said...

Yes. In every move with older children there is a communication. The conversations bloom with a sense of the infinite and the expectation they will be continued well beyond the moment and you.

GrittyPretty said...

very much enjoying your blog! i arrived here to learn more of the "long emergency" and am delighted to also find the way you communicate with your daughter- it's lovely! i plan on taking cues from you as my toddler is quickly going from uttering short phrases to giant paragraphs! thank you.