Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Further Ponderings

Further thoughts springboarding from the previous post...

This relates also to something that was sort of niggling in the back of my mind all this past year - something about caring for other people's children.

It's a truism, but my life changed completely when we had kids. The commitments I was able to make before were no longer possible. Suddenly I noticed that all the staff at the agency where I cut my teeth on immigration issues in the US had no children. Thinking back through the past 10 years of staff turnover, I realized NONE of the staff at this agency had small children at the time that they worked there. Only one had kids at all, and they were in their teens. But we were a child-serving agency. So we spent all our time taking care of other people's children.

And I mean this in a good way. It was a good thing to be doing, working alongside people who through life circumstances and the arbitrary inequalities of our economic system were particularly vulnerable to scarcity and other related problems.

It's been a big change for me now to be spending so much time and energy taking care of my own children, to the exclusion of other people's children.

The thing is, though, that other people's children are my children, your children, our children. There is a sense in which we are responsible above all others to our own progeny, our genetic offspring, and those we've legally committed to being responsible for. But in another sense as a human race we're all responsible for all the children.

What does it mean to be responsible as an individual and as a society for the children that have been shoved to the side because of their particular heritage within the social system we have inherited?

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