Giving Your Child the Best Start in Life when the Odds are stacked Against You. 124

Giving Your Child the Best Start in Life when the Odds are stacked Against You. 124

Being pregnant with your first child, you’d think that it would be a joyous time to be thinking about baby names while preparing to create the most optimal environment for the little one.

In an ideal world, new parents would be able to sit down and make the necessary changes to best provide a supportive and healthy environment for their child. They would be able to move, change their jobs or quit them, and they would be able to choose the type of education that they see is best suited for their child.

When my husband and I started preparing for the arrival of the new baby, we quickly realized that we couldn’t simply start planning for the life we see would be best to provide for our child.

In our case, we would like to live somewhere close to nature where our child is able to explore and enjoy nature and breathe in fresh and unpolluted air. We would like to spend as much time with our child as possible. We would also like to each be able to continue to have an active life, and stand as examples to our child through living in a way that is best for us as adults, pursuing a meaningful and purposeful driven life where making a difference in the world is of priority.

We would like to not be forced to place our child into childcare or a formal school. We would like to at least have a choice in the type of education our child is given. In the country we live in, we don’t.

We would like our child to have other people around them too, both children and adults of different ages. We would like our child to be exposed to all kinds of cultures, from books to people from other countries. We would like to live in a community where adults support each other in taking care of the children and the living environment. We would like to live rich and fulfilling lives with good nutritious food that isn’t laced with hidden toxins, regular exercise, travel and other life-enhancing experiences.

To me, these would be the basic standards of life that each child should at the very least be provided with from the moment of birth, to actually be able to make the most of themselves as adults.

When we look at our options, it is clear that we have to choose between the least bad options available to us, and make the best of that. We might for example not be able to be home with our child as long as possible. Instead we are forced to count every penny to see how far we can stretch the money or come up with a million dollar business idea over night.

Here I would also like to stress the fact that we live in one of the countries in the world that has the best conditions when it comes to things like childcare and maternity leave. We both have higher academic degrees and with my husband having studied law, we have the potential to make a considerable income in the future. I myself have worked in the education field for 15 years, and education and children’s rights are my life’s passion.

So ironically, you might say that we were in the perfect situation to become parents.

So why is it that, even for us who are tremendously privileged compared to most people in this world, we cannot even give our child the very essential upbringing we see would be best for our child to be prepared as best as possible to become an adult in this world? And where does that leave everyone else?

We hear all these fancy blanket statements like “The children are the future!” but it is as though we do not know what this in fact means on a practical level, or we wouldn’t be eroding their chances of the best life possible already from the moment they are conceived.

It is the same with statements like “All people have equal opportunity from birth”. How can that possibly be true, when my child is going to be born with disadvantages and poor odds from the get go, not even mentioning the people whose children are literally born without ANY opportunities to make a supportive life for themselves?

The fact that providing children with the utmost care and the best possible environment to grow up in, isn’t the highest priority in our society, is an unfortunate tell tale sign of where we are at in our evolution as humanity. The fact is that we are devolving rather than evolving at this point.

If children truly are the future, then we cannot care very much about our future since we are constantly making budget-cuts in virtually all areas involving children, childcare and parent support. We don’t even care enough to make the effort to protect the planet from further harm by human hands.

Another thing is that parents are expected to, without any training in how to actually be a parent, raise sensible, caring and productive members of society. Most parents try their best to give their children the best possible upbringing they can, in the best possible environment, with the best possible education, but society is indirectly – and sometimes even directly – disrupting these efforts through its commitment to short sighted wins and profit optimization for the few. It is for all intents and purposes not created to support its members to live and thrive and contribute in the best ways possible, but to erode and consume life resources, including those of human beings, at such a rapid pace that we cannot possibly keep up AND keep a decent living standard.

It would seem as though there are always more important things for us to do, than actually living, that actually caring for life. As the saying goes: as you give so shall you receive, and unfortunately we have created a world where we take a lot and expect everything in return, while we give very little. The same is true for how we raise our children.

One thing is certain: my husband and I are not going to let the lack of odds prevent us from giving our child the best possible start. We are committed to make it work, to find every gap and solution available and to learn and grow together with other parents doing the same. We do this so that our child will at least have a foundation from which they can go into life as whole human beings, human beings who have the potential to change the world, because someone was willing to change themselves and the world for them. So many parents do not have the opportunity to do that, so we do it for them too.  All it takes is one family at a time, changing the world one child at a time.

4 Comments

  1. I hardly think you have anything stacked against you. I have been low income since birth. Nine years later I found myself divorce and pregnant with three kids. Now I live with my parents with my four children and no income. Yet, I have explored so much and given so much to my children. They love to read giggling over chapter books at their young age (as young as 4), play with mathematical ideas and more. They are beyond their peers. If you think the odds are stacked against you, you are just believing a lie. There is so much opportunity. You just need to be adaptable and start searching. You could teach a baby to read in as little as fifteen minutes a day. Believe me I know. Time and money are not stacked against you. It’s just your eyesight. Be encouraged. Be confident that you will be enough as a mother, and that you are capable of becoming whatever you need to be for your child.

    Reply
    • Hi Lacy.

      Thanks for your comment.
      As mentioned in the post, I am in no way comparing myself to people who have the odds of life severely stacked against them. However – simply because one doesn’t have it AS hard as someone else, does not mean that that one’s situation can’t or shouldn’t be improved. The point I aimed at showing in the blog-post is how, even in households where the parents seemingly have all the odds going for them, there are unnatural limitations caused by the current system that will in one way or another create consequences for their child. I grew up with a single mom who worked nights at a nursery home. We hardly had any money, and sure she made it work. But that doesn’t mean i didn’t miss out on opportunities due to our living situation.

      I do hear what you are saying, and I agree in terms of not allowing the limitations imposed by the system wear you down. There is so much one can do with so little – however we do also have to address the systemic problems that exists, so that we can in time challenge and change them.

      Sincerely,
      Anna

      Reply
  2. I often find that most changes have to be within before we tell the world how it should support what we feel is the ideal life of opportunity. Certainly it is impractical to offer everyone the same set of opportunities for a variety of reasons. One reasoning is time limitations and another is too much opportunity can distract us from why we were designed for and maybe God designed such limitations that way so as to direct our paths according to His will. Life is journey of putting our priorities in order. Some value a house, a car, clothes. Others education. Others nature. Others people. Others servitude. Each person shaped by what confines them and inspires them. When we covet what we don’t have we tell God we have a problem with the limitations that He has placed on us. But those limitations might be meant to guide us to our true purpose. We can’t all be the same. There are so many jobs to do.

    Reply
    • Hi Lacy.

      Thanks for your comment.

      I agree, it is an interesting conundrum. And it is fascinating how we tend to assume that our children will (or SHOULD) automatically have the same values as us. It is probably one of the most challenging aspects of parenting; to not impose one’s own values on one’s child. Definitely important to be humble, especially with the things we think we know are certain or fact. Who knows? Our kids might surprise us and make us turn our entire life view upside down… if we let them.

      Reply

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