Time to wrap up. Time to draw the sums. What have you learned since September 2019?
1. Sometimes you think you know… but think better.
At BabyBrains, it is basically our mantra: every child is unique. For each of our children, our job is to accompany them by creating a safe environment for them to play/explore/fail/learn.
So it’s not that you1 did not know.
But then sometimes the s*** does really hit the fan, and amidst the disconcert and the pain, you have the opportunity to find out that oh boy! There is SO much more to learn still!
You can always take L.O.V.E. to a new level. The stuff you can Learn through Observation is as basic as the perception of smells and as sophisticated as Carl Linnaeus’ binomial nomenclature [link Wikipedia]. You are never done with observing a little more carefully, a little more specifically, with a little more context.
You are never done with opening your mind a bit wider.
You are never done with growing your heart.
It takes the humility of a sparrow and the fierceness of a lion to navigate the deep dark waters of a suffering child. But wherever that storm brings you and your little one, out of that trip, you will at the very least get the following:
two opener minds,
two bigger hearts,
a humbler kind of fierceness,
a fiercer kind of humility.
And what is left is a deeper relationship between the two of you and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. If you are lucky, you have a month or two to catch your breath (wishful thinking??) and then off you go, perfectly equipped for your new adventures!
2. Nothing Delights the mind like loving and loyal friendship
Again: it’s not that you did not know. And again, it’s not until it hits the fan and you are deprived from your friends, that you begin to see the full extent of how fundamentally they not only influence you, but even actually define who you are.
You don’t think the same way if you cannot tell your friend.
You don’t work the same way if your partner is not around to see and comment.
You don’t laugh at the joke alone.
And when you are lucky – whether it is after sickness, after lockdown, after silence - you get to be reunited. And that’s when you know you have not just found your friend again. You have found yourself too.
3. A Diverse Society is everybody’s business.
This could fit under the first heading too. Before 25th May 2020, you might have thought you knew that you had a responsibility in creating a more diverse society. You might have had many friends with skin coloured differently from yours. You might have lived as if your friends’ skin colour was irrelevant, a non-issue.
You liked them for what they said, for how they felt, for the fun you had together, for the things you did, for the thoughts you thought. And you might have been under the impression that was enough.
It might have taken a young woman [link Laurel’s profile] to take you by the ear and open your eyes. It might have taken several friends and colleagues to generously donate their time to explain how horribly you were falling short on them [link HYHTV]. It will probably take you the rest of your life to understand what it actually means in practical terms to try and act justly (woops! Sorry but not sorry for the scary word!) towards all races.
In theory, it means at the very least to unlearn seeing white as the default and start seeing it as a factor of race.
It means to look more carefully at the million ways in which your privilege expresses itself. And think: should I give it up or can I use it for something good?
It means to commit to give space and time to take in and represent the wonderful diversity of humankind, so that we can all delight in it. No Defaults. No exceptions. Together.
Photo credit: LightRocket via Getty Images. Creator: Portal Rashid
4. Our society needs a tweak or two.
In this department, the pandemic has taught us a couple of things, but you might not be sure whether we all agree on what the learnings actually are.
Have we learnt that relationships can thrive over zoom? Or have we learnt
that the we need our body to be present for a relationship to actually be alive?
Have we learnt that we need more school, or have we learnt that school, as it is today, is deeply inadequate?
Have we learnt that women are chronically let down by our society or have we learnt that our society is chronically propelled forward by the generosity and adaptability of women?
Time to let these questions sink in our mind for a little. Time to let our brain to do its processing and consolidating work undisturbed, while we taste a watermelon and feel the juice dribble down our chin, while we follow the gracious flight of a swift, while we take in the humid scent of the forest. To take in and digest the last year, we definitely need at least one summer!
1 Let’s be honest. “You” is me: Silvia Dalvit, the one half of BabyBrains Direction who has had the privilege to stay healthy throughout the last months… and to learn a thing or two.
2 Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi.