Continuation of part one.
Throughout the year and especially leading up to these school holidays, I’ve had some frustrating conversations at work. Somewhere between the age of twelve and fourteen, the conversation shifts. By fifteen it’s like, well, why do you need to be there at all.
“Shouldn’t she be old enough to take care of herself?”
Mainstream Western thinking is almost implying that we are hindering her independence by not leaving her to her own devices.
Sure she can feed herself, but what about finding a balance of rest and meaningful activities in the holidays? Working through friendship problems at school – friends who are excessively needy or suicidal? Having someone to talk about their mixed feelings when a boy likes them for the first time? Organising calendars and routines? Negotiating rosters at the casual job. Time away from iPad and what’s difficult about face to face conversations. Starting to care for others, like our single-mum friend and her baby. Purpose, meaning, money, achievements. Deaths, ageing parents, regrets. Responding to people who are curious about your faith. Reflecting on why the monster and gore art is so attractive.
Every family situation is different. But if we have the ability to be present, why are we outsourcing these conversations to health professionals? Or letting social media have the final word? Or relying on courses to teach young people basic life skills?
It’s also lovely just to have fun together and be sisters. If I said I was taking a few days off to spend time with my husband no one will question his ability to care for himself. So – no, relationships can’t take care of themselves.