Ok, did anybody else see this article from the New Yorker? A friend from college posted it on FB and I was riveted. I love how anthropology helps me make sense of my life. I knew of the Machigenka growing up because we knew missionaries working with them. We lived in Quechua villages, where we similarly saw toddlers using machetes and 7-year-olds fishing for crayfish by themselves. Injuries and accidents were actually very rare.
I’m working very hard to try to shift the way I see my daughter, especially. I am so quick to jump in and help anytime she is frustrated but I need to realize that helping can be, in the long run, hurting her sense of confidence and autonomy.
A quote I heard last week really, really stuck with me: “children are hard-wired for struggle.” It astonished me, but it makes so much sense when I think about it. I dimly recall something about baby chicks – that if you help them break out of their eggs, you actually damage them. They have to struggle through that themselves in order to live and thrive.
I was also astonished last week to receive three – three! – compliments on my parenting. Out of the blue, people went out of their way to tell me they’d noticed how I interact with my children and communicate their approval. I know I’m way too dependent on external validation – but I have to say that it felt really, really good.