the ultimate activism

November 19, 2006

Responding to my previous post ‘ready‘, a visitor recently remarked that after the baby’s birth, “you will sense what it also means to wonder if your child will experience the same life that the people of the difficult places you have visited experience”. An interesting thought, and just today, a friend emailed me with a similar question: “has your political struggle now become a more personal one – raising a young life as the ultimate activism, and world changing endeavour?”

All of which got me thinking (surprise surprise). I certainly find it difficult to imagine a situation , God forbid, where my child has to live unwillingly under a military occupation. A war, or the risk of terrorism? More likely perhaps. And what about my own passion for justice? Does being a father need to dilute this? Is my friend’s suggestion, of seeing parenthood as the “ultimate…world changing endeavour” an exercise in wishful thinking, masking over an inevitable compromise to ‘settling down’? Or, could it be true?

Since I could easily enough write a post tomorrow, or next week, when I’ve changed my mind, for now, I’m going to take up my friend’s idea and run with it. Because, after all, political change, be it structural or single issue campaigning, is vital and worthwhile, but we are also perhaps more likely to make a real difference, through our daily interactions with those we know – from those closest to us whom we share a house and our lives with, to those fleeting experiences under a bus shelter or in the workplace – and everything in between. Investing in a life…well, what a privilege, opportunity, and responsibility. In the life of a child? Change in our world will only be possible when we ourselves are changed. So yes, the marches, the writing, the activism continues. But maybe fatherhood is indeed the “ultimate activism”. I should still probably pick Pooh Bear over Marx at bedtime though.

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3 Responses to “the ultimate activism”

  1. tracie said

    I am becoming more intrigued as well as hopeful with the idea that people make up communities and it is ultimately communities that spring board a grassroots social transformation. All that said, my own desire to see social justice seemed to be “put on hold” due to the arrival of two wonderful people into our lives. But recently I began to slowly (still in the process) realize that it is inside the family that community first begins. What an amazing gift to invest into our families (esp. our children) in order to impart the vision of justice, grace, hope, integrity, love and the importance and raw strength of the family.
    Now to all of those who have said my life (or my cause) is “on hold” as well as my dreams. Well these little ones will some day lead THEM.
    Great Post!

  2. Phrenseed said

    We can always become more ‘other’ centered; however, all life-changing activities offer us a choice of advocating with increased vitality for others. Following an accident while I was riding a bicycle and I was hit by a car, I have found myself needing the very services I often helped to provided to entire communities of people. I have found myself becoming a ferocious advocate for the humane advocate of each other, living each moment as if it was the only moment, and our very futures depend on it.

  3. […] 2nd, 2007 Back in November, I posted an entry in which I mused that fatherhood was perhaps ‘the ultimate activism‘. Well here is an excerpt from a book I’m reading by Henri Nouwen called ‘The […]

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