New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The family is central

May 15 is International Day of the Family.  This is a day of observation set up by the UN to help promote practices that will protect and preserve the family.  They did this because one of the basic human rights as set out by the UN is stated as this: "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State".

I am going to continue to explore this topic through some of their publications on their web site, but for now it got me thinking about the central position the family plays in our lives in bringing up the next generation.  And how, as mothers, we form such a huge part of that role.  

My husband brought up an interesting question yesterday.  He wondered what history would be like if it was told from the prospective of the mothers of the great men and women in history.  For instance, while telling the story of Napoleon or Hitler, we also told the story of their mothers and how they believed and acted.  It would be interesting to see how the women in great historical lives changed who they are or what they believed.  It would be interesting to take a peak into the home of George Washington or Martin Luther King Jr.  What would we find?  I have a feeling it would be very much like my days....

Cooking, cleaning, getting kids up for school, frustration, laughs, crying, talking, something a little bit stronger than talking, time-outs, wrestling, wresting/fighting?, eating together, gathering, praying, hugging, wiping away tears, arguments, forgiving, loving....I love it, but sometimes it doesn't seem like something that is central to society or fundamental...something worthy of all groups of people working to preserve and protect.  

Yet, what is it exactly we learn from this fundamental unit of society that makes it so important?  Here's just a few quotes I found that explains why these seemingly small moments in life make such a difference. 

"We learn the lessons of a context where we face challenge, opposition, hardship, and temptation"  Those things certainly happen in families and the reason that is so important is because it's also where were learn to forgive, to love when we don't want to, to give when we have nothing left to give, to support others who need you.  These things can happen anywhere, but I would say the family offers the perfect environment to cultivate these.  At work, you can leave and go home.  At home, you have to learn to deal with it.  I've always said that if you can learn to love your family, you can learn to love anyone...and isn't that a basic building block of society...learning to love everyone?

"The place to begin to improve society is in the home. Children do, for the most part, what they are taught. We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger."  

The family unit is fundamental … We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to ....the society in which we live in this world"
The family provides a great place for children to learn values that are important to our society.

"It’s no stretch to say that a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home. Many people still succeed though they come from less-than-ideal family situations, but having our basic needs met, knowing that our parents love us and learning life lessons at home make all the challenges of day-to-day living that much easier to face. Likely, as an adult you want a happy home for your family.
This is no coincidence. [We are] organize[d] ...into families so that we can grow up in happiness and safety, and so that we can learn to love others selflessly—the key to true joy. Within the family is the best place to learn to love others"

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.