As the mother of 5 girls and 2 boys the #MeToo movement has had me very interested. While much of my energy has focused on preparing my girls for the world, my boys also need to know how to live and contribute to the world.
As I was checking my email this morning I saw this story about parenting questions the #MeToo movement is raising. At the same time I am doing an on-line course with Jack Canfield (author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul) books. He speaks about how it is important to come “from a place of giving” in life and business. I believe that is the missing component in all this discussion. There is much talk about consent, but I feel that consent is not where our focus should be.
I am blessed to have the example of my husband in my life. Throughout his dating years he always tried to be open and honest, saying what his expectations were and being careful not to behave in a way that would make someone think he was something he was not. When we began dating–on our first date actually–he told me that he had a very full and happy life and he wasn’t interested in a “just for fun” relationship. If he was going to invest time in a relationship he wanted to make sure we were on the same page and looking for something serious and long term. I was. The next 10 days we spent many hours talking, trying to figure out if we would be compatible for a long term, intimate relationship. On the 10th day he proposed. Ten Months later we were married. This year we will celebrate 15 years together.
As we raise our children together we try to model openness and honesty with ourselves and others. Why are we behaving in a certain way? Why do I want something? Is that really going to add to my life or more importantly the life of others? Coming from a place of giving is a concept that is much simpler then consent–except that it requires us to be our best self all the time! However if we were able to accomplish it imagine the world we would live in!!
Imagine how different our conversation would be if every person who has been identified by the #MeToo movement as a predator thought first, “is what I want to do going to enhance this person’s life or experience?”
As we raise our children we want them to both know who they are and why they behave in certain ways and be able to think about the other person first. Some may think that the idea that intimacy should be the goal in sexual relationships versus sexual gratification is old fashioned. The idea that it is old fashioned is why we are having this conversation. I do not believe that the idea of consent is strong enough to safeguard our society. Love and giving however–while admittedly not universal on any level– is strong enough. Ideals by definition are something we strive for, why not strive for love and giving in all things as we parent? Let’s see what the world can become!