Community and family values

Many alternative types struggle with the integration issue. For some it is a constant worry, others don’t bat an eyelid. Newer parents can be especially militant: this is my child, I’m doing it my way. Hang your traditions, we have a better way. We only want wholemeal flour, wooden toys and certainly no sugar or TV…

How can we live our values without alienating those we love? For what do we gain if we achieve our values but lose our families, friends and communities? Where should the compromise be? Children can be a battle ground amongst the traditional or mainstream ways of doing things and the alternative. My concern is that in trying to kick hard against what we as parents do not agree with, we risk isolating and confusing our children. We have acquired our values though our lives, and so whilst we can make choices for ourselves and how we live, how much should we impose “our way” on them?

How do we step the line between integration and alienation whilst living our values fully? I believe it is when we live consciously, mindfully, and don’t put differènces in values before real human beings and their relationships. For me this is where so many of our religions have lost their way over the centuries. Fervent believers put their faith, their ideology above their humanity. They put moral superiority above common humanity, their differences before their commonality. It is all to easy to make others wrong when we are right…

And now for those of us who belong to the new “religions” of Natural Parenting, Radical Homemaking, Environmentalism, we too must act with caution that we do not focus so hard on saving the world, nurturing perfect children, buying organic, doing deep soul work, or running the perfect homestead that we lose our human brother- and sisterhood with those who choose differently.