Monday, January 16, 2006

Breeders Talk more About Their Lives!

Parenting and Anti-Oppression Work
The Best Anti-Oppression Training I Got from a Two Year Old
By Clayton Dewey

Finishing up my B.A. in Humanities even the idea of having children was pretty much a far off, sporadic thing that would pop into my head. Like most of my peers I was concerned with how I would be able to make a living and have that fit with my radical politics as much as possible. Kids were something I could think about once I was settled down and had some sort of stability.

With that said, I was definitely interested in children, my girlfriend at the time wanted to be a midwife, my best friend had worked her whole life working with kids and the last summer I had worked as a camp counselor with youth as young as 5 to as old as 18. Still, in my activism I hardly worked with parents and kids. Many of the people I worked with on social justice issues looked strikingly similar tomyself- white, male college students.

That reality was altered when I suddenly found myself profoundly in love with a woman, who along with playing many other incredible roles, is a single mom.

In my hopeless romantic sort of way I said that love could conquer all, including the fact that I couldn’t really change a diaper and had no clue how I would fit in with Obsidian’s life. Still, being with this woman made me feel like I could do anything, including entering the world of parenting.

Pretty quickly I discovered another reason that I thought I could do this and that was Obsidian. He was incredible. One year old at the time, he only had a few words in his vocabulary but would tug me around my house’s yard and we’d explore the tall grasses, weeds and flowers that were growing rampant that spring. I taught him how to blow the tops off of dead dandelions and from that point on a walk took 4 times as long because he wanted to stop at every flower to see the seeds spread to the wind.

Though I found so much of my joy with these people I soon found that my anarchist lifestyle and the lives of many of my anarchist friends conflicted with their anarchist lives. It took some effort to make our collective house child friendly and even after that we’d unintentionally leave things out that Obsidian could hurt himself with. When we went to other cities to visit friends it was oftentimes difficult to find safe spaces that were quiet at night so he could sleep. Even when people did make those accommodations others (housemates and/or visitors) failed to maintain that safeness. Also, just the way some people treated Obsidian was surprising.


No comments: