Sunday, March 13, 2011

What's wrong with the Ghandi approach?

You must be the change you want to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

“If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, acted and inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a "gentle" "peaceful" parent would you tell your child "Do as I say not as I do?" Or.. "Do not do as I say, and do as I do only if you agree with me" (good luck with a teen!) 

Why is it that we're promoting peaceful, gentle parenting yet when it comes to other fellow humans especially those who dare disagree with us (even if you are right and they are wrong) ..why does that go out the window?

I have noticed a  pattern lately of some bloggers calling out  middle of the road, and  "wishy washy" people.. claiming they have lack of passion, do not have a backbone or they don't have a firm stance and are thus contributing to the problem or as some have even called it "evil".

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment. — Mahatma Gandhi

Let me tell you something.. "evil" is in the eye of the beholder...  If you are an intactivist and you see someone that circumcised their child as evil, they might think the same of you for attacking them.

If you don't vaccinate someone will be thinking you are neglecting your children and exposing them to danger
If you do vaccinate someone will be thinking you are neglecting your children and exposing them to danger.

by the way there is a gray area here..I'm proud and PASSIONATE about this as much as you are about your black or your white.

If someone chooses not to participate in such debates in order to preserve the peace it is not because they are being passive or apathetic.. they might know better ..they might know that an "eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind"  another great Ghandi quote..

Take debates online for instance.. Intactivists vs the circ crowd.. back and forth debating.. wasting energy on giving information to people that don't want to listen.  Meanwhile the "passive" ones post information, if they want it good.. if they don't it's their loss. I actually have reached many friends who have not though about that decision yet because they don't have children or because they have girls to think about it.. I have gotten messages about how they learned from the info. That is where people should focus.. not attacking each other.. information will just get lost there.. I assure you no one is going to say.. "Hallelujah I have seen the light! You are right and I have been wrong"  without being sarcastic..

which leads me to another Ghandi quote..

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.
Mahatma Gandhi, 1931

We all as moms have good intentions when we discuss such "hot topics" really the majority of us don't do it just to "stir the pot"  When someone mentions vaccines, breastfeeding, circumcision, gentle parenting... we do so to tell people how great it has worked for us or how the research we have done has lead us to discover we were going about things wrong.. or that this other way is better for you. And we want you to learn with us and to possibly avoid harm to your children or you.. or spare you the trouble of  having to get up at night to make a bottle of when you can nurse in bed...  We do not think you are a bad mother.. nor we will hate you if you decide you really don't agree with us. A two way conversation IS possible and I've had many  of those! Did I agree with the other! did the other person agree with me? No..but a seed was planted of understanding where each other comes from. And in turn it leaves both sides open to further info and perhaps maybe a complete understanding.

Think about us as that person who has just found the light in their Lord, and they are so happy they want to share that with everyone! they want everyone to be as happy as they are so they might go on the street and try to get your attention to tell you about their experience  not to force you into it but to invite you. However.. we have seen so many people trying to force their views on some that it has made a cynic out of many that  instead of being received with a smile or with an ear.. he gets pushed.."get out of my way" and cursed at.. "I don't have time for your nonsense!

It is because People who attack make our effort harder and make people prone to being defensive on certain issues.

Ultimately we have the right to err... none of us have been exempt from that..  Look at Mayim Bialik.. on a pedestal for her gentle ways.. a representative of the Holistic Mom's network yet when it came to the fact she circumcised her boys she fell from the pedestal in the eyes of some and she was attacked..
I do not condone her being attacked even if I don't agree with her.  However to the peaceful people who posted info on her page.. what bothered them was not that so much that she circumcised her boys what's done is done.. it was the fact that she deleted their comments where they were not attacking people.. including those of fellow Jewish mothers and fathers..  and chose only to leave the comments attacking the other side  the side she was not on.. and constantly making snarky remarks inviting more discussion yet complaining when the discussion didn't go her way or tell her how wonderful she is.
That is not peaceful! That is not gentle..
How is it we boast about our gentle ways yet we can turn around and  attack other mothers with fierceness and without compassion or a heart..
How is it we talk about rights, respect, equality, freedom, yet when things don't go our way we deny the same to others..
I love this post by the Leaky boob "Passionate advocacy or cyber bullying" There is definitely an thin line between those
"Thoughts on radical acceptance" by raising my boychick "A poor explanation makes it sound like optimism on speed, or hippie passivity, or dressed up defeatism, when it is absolutely none of those things" and she explains what she means..  A must read!
I invite you to next time that things get heated...  stop... breathe... hug your babies take them for a walk, eat some ice cream, dance,  and let the other side be, (whichever side that might be for you) Do not add fuel to the fire.. just let it be. When the time comes again,..  you can rise and spread your knowledge, you can gather strenght and clear thoughts and keep fighting the good fight... but when your morale is being threatened by overwhelming opposition  backing down is not surrendering.. backing down and gathering strenght is wise.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi

Don't you just love Ghandi?  


  1. Its true that there is a fine line, sometimes so fine that I'm scared to walk it at all and wanted to leave all those "dangerous" topics alone. This was so hard for me, though, because these "dangerous" topics are also choices I am passionate about, and when I would meet up with other moms I found that I often had nothing to say about how many bottles a baby takes or where the cheapest disposable diapers could be found. Eventually I did find a group of open minded moms who were *gasp* mature enough to talk about different choices without getting defensive, thank goodness!

  2. Alright, you've got me hooked. Adding your blog to my google reader!

    This is such a good post. I wish there wasn't so much hypocrisy in the parenting world. If we could just extend the same unconditional support to one another as we do to our children, that would bring sweeping change. And by unconditional support, that means even if it is not returned in kind :)

  3. Very well said. :)

    I've long felt that the need to attack stems out of insecurity - a fear of asking any type of question for fear you may be proven wrong - a fear that you have secret doubts about your strongly held convictions and may be exposed.

    (And I know this because it used to be me, too).

    Security comes through loving support - not through judgment and attacks. We cannot call out enough for this to come to an end.



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