I wish that I was more of a black and white person. It would be great to be one of those people who know--just know---that their actions and choices are correct.
I talked to a mother yesterday who potty trained her first child at eighteen months. She was matter-of-fact about it and got the job done. I, meanwhile, consulted numerous books and discussed the topic at length. Everybody, and I mean everybody, knew the status of Owen's excrement. And still, I hoped I was doing it right.
I just got off the phone with my sister-in-law, and she has strong opinions about schooling, the role of technology, and discipline. She just seems so sure that she's doing the right thing.
I envy her.
I never feel confident that I am doing the right thing. When I'm disciplining my kids, I wonder if I am too lenient or unrealistic in my expectations. I wonder if I could have been more proactive or more thoughtful or less rushed or less distracted.
I never, ever, think, "I'm doing this the right way, and everybody else should parent like me." I always wonder if there is a better way.
How comforting it would be to see less gray! To believe in a political system or a faith system as right or as wrong, for me or not for me. It would be nice to take a side once in awhile.
I don't. I have my political leanings for sure, but I understand where the other side is coming from much of the time. I have my faith, but I understand why others do not share my beliefs.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm so gray that I dillute any meaning at all.
But then, I also recognize that doubt is like yeast. Without doubts, without questions, nothing happens. I need to let my conflicting feelings rise up in order to become something real, something I can sink my teeth into.
But, the process is hard. I'm pounded down and put under the fire. It would be a lot easier to be a simple little quick bread---stagnant, easily digestible, and predictable.
How does it feel to be a Nancy Pelosi or a Sarah Palin--so sure, so confident in a worldview?
How does it feel to know that you are parenting your children better than anybody else possibly could?
I would like to know. I imagine it's very comforting.
Yet, I never will. You can't return black and white to pure forms. I'm permanently gray, and in perpetual doubt.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. I have the best readers in the world.