A Tradition That Has No Name: Nurturing the Development of People, Families, and Communities

By Mary Field Belenky; Lynne A. Bond et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
MOTHERS AND CHILDREN

How's John gonna figure out what he's supposed to do if I don't tell him what to do? What are parents for, anyway?

ELAINE

Hey, that's why I got family--to steer me along. Sometimes I wish I could put a steering wheel on my back because I don't think I can stay on the road by myself, if you know what I mean. I need my mom as a full-time driver.

CARRIE

My mom always told me what to do; like she didn't think I could figure it out for myself. I hated that. It made me feel awful. How am I supposed to figure out how to take care of myself if no one gives me a chance to try to work stuff out myself?

TAMMY

At some point, you just gotta let go and let your kid experiment herself. I don't mean abandon them, but you know, you're not gonna always be there, so you gotta let them test the waters a little bit at a time when they're growing up. Otherwise, it's like suddenly taking off their life jacket and throwing them overboard when they've never practiced treading, let alone swimming on their own.

CHRISTINE

As Elaine asks, "What are parents for, anyway?" What is their role in sponsoring their children's development? What are their responsibilities and how are they to pursue them? The Listening Partners project sponsored women to gain the power of voice in private life with the expectation that this appreciation of mind and voice would be associated with more democratic and nurturing family and peer relationships--contexts that nurture development of others as well as self.

Throughout our work, we have had a special interest in the sponsorship of growth in the context of mothers and their children. Mother

-126-

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