A lot of our daily activity consists of chores, errands, meal prep, playing with AJ, chasing AJ around the house, cuddling and caring for AJ, talking about AJ....well, you get the idea. When the aforementioned VIP is finally asleep, we often slump in front of computers or phones for a little bit of solitude. Other times we'll drink tea, eat dessert and watch something silly on TV, which is nice, but I tend to fall asleep after about half an hour.
When the two of us are alone together it's good to be reminded that we can still find lots to talk about and see our questions and answers and quandaries reflected in each other. Our two shared meals started a discussion that ranged over changing family roles to current events in the news and back to family roles and values. If I was to summarize, I'd say we both agree that the best way to make a difference in the world is to have a strong relationship together and raise our child with love, consistency, and transparency. But, there was a lot of ground covered to reach that conclusion, if you want to call it a conclusion!
One of the themes that came up was what are the most important things we pass on to children. I think we were talking about poverty and class divisions. My question to Mr. Turtle was: other than material things, what of value do parents give their children? If you don't have a lot of money or material wealth (or even if you do), what can you give your children that will actually make a difference in their lives?
One answer was the awareness that every person's inner life is interesting and valuable. When I think back on my life, I have always found my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions valid and interesting. I may or may not be enjoying what is going on in my life at the time, but I can always process it, reflect on it, and use it for a creative purpose. The creative act might be a piece of art, an essay for school, a job search, a discussion, or no more than a journal entry or a mad dance in the dark to my favourite song of the time, but it is my voice in the world, and nothing is ever more important. Perhaps this is part of the reason I have kept all my writing and all my school projects from high school on. I don't look at them and ooh and aah in admiration for myself (hahahahahaha) but I know they are there and that they are part of my individuality. Did my parents teach me this? Yes, I think in part. My mom always encouraged me to take great care of my work: she collected it, helped me create little books, asked me when I was writing the next poem/story/whatever. That taught me it had value.
Mr. Turtle and I also discussed movie adaptations from books, and how they are different. For me at least, a large part of why movie adaptations are less satisfying than books is because inner conflicts and voices don't transfer well to the screen. A good writer can explore his or her characters' thoughts and value conflicts for pages and pages, and it's riveting reading. But that's hard to do on screen, so inner conflicts are externalized to conflicts between characters. I always find that disappointing, or rather missing the point. Some people like to act out all their conflicts with/on other people, I guess, but for those of us who tend to carry them around and reflect on them, that can seem like too much drama already. It also implies that the relationships/conflicts we have with other people or with "society" or "environment" are more important than our inner lives, and I don't agree. Obviously those external influences and relationships are important, but everything we do starts with some thought or impulse we have. And our thoughts and impulses come from our inner life and how we process the world. It is important to listen to that and understand what is happening, especially if there is any conflict or distress (and there usually is!).
This is, of course, a big reason I enjoy the blog world: Blogs can make the inside voices audible (so to speak).