Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lessons for my Son: Cooperation and Choices

The lesson for today, Rowan, is that (despite what the media tells us) there is far more cooperation in the world than strife. While woe and conflict make for dramatic stories to tell on TV and in newspapers, the everyday reality is nicer and a little more boring.

Take a typical Wednesday in our lives for example:
1. We get up after sleeping on a bed made by a group of people in Mexico. Another group of people brought it to Oakland, where we bought it, and took it home. A similar story exists for all our furniture, sheets, and towels. Anything you see that we use and did not make ourselves exists for us through the cooperation of many hands.

2. We make breakfast: organic fair trade coffee (this is coffee we pick especially because it protects songbirds, the people who do the work to bring it to us, and the environment), organic free range eggs (from a local North Bay farm where the chickens are not kept in cages and they can see the sunlight and scratch for their food), and natural nitrate free sausages (made locally San Leandro!).

All these items came to us from various places- cooperation is in every bite. In order to get them to our kitchen for breakfast, we got into our car (which was created by people working together in a factory in Tennessee), obey laws of traffic (which are all about cooperation to ensure safety), and park in a designated space like all the other cars, and enter the store- the very existence of which is a whole other set of cooperation and negotiation between hundreds if not thousands of people. But going to the market to buy items for breakfast is just not newsworthy, according to some.

You'll notice that the items that I listed for breakfast were very particular. That is because choices matter (even consumer ones). While I am not one to jump on a capitalist bandwagon, I do recognize that the system we live under affords me some degree of choice. Do I want eggs from chickens that suffered, never seeing the light of day and having their feet growing into mesh cages? No- of course I do not. Do I want a known carcinogen in my sausage? Again, no. Do I want to protect the environment by getting certain kinds of coffee, even if it means paying an extra dollar per pound? Yes- that is worth it to me. Having principles that apply how we interact with others, who we interact with and even what we buy and where we buy it affects our choices. We never shop at Wal Mart, for example- this is because they are destroying small businesses, taxing money away form the communities they exist in, and treating their employees quite badly.

3. After some play time at home and getting clean, we head out to Pagan Playdate. This is also an exercise in cooperation. The other parents and I talk throughout the week about where to meet, what to plan, and what would be fun for you to do.

4. After we get home, Daddy usually takes over your care, so that Mommy can get some schoolwork done. This is an example of family cooperation and negotiation that took place.

5. Then we put you in your highchair and wheel you into the kitchen so we can feed you and you can watch us cook. We do this instead of letting you play in the living room, because you have told us that you prefer to have us all together, even if it means that you are in the high chair. So we are cooperating with you, too.

Don't let the media fool you when you are older, son*. People are mostly good, and generally we want the same things: food, water, shelter, ease, and love.

*Rowan does not watch TV right now, as we are following recommendations to keep him from doing so until at least age 2.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I am so happy to have come here !
    D from You , Me & Religion sent me your website as I saw she mentioned you shall be posting in March !
    I was excited because I love & am drawn to the faery faith very much so .
    I shall have to look over the blog & website now . I'm excited ☺
    Thanks so much for sharing


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