I am currently reading The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond. It’s an analysis of traditional societies and current, “developed” societies, considering what we can learn from each. In one chapter he compares methods of bringing up children, including childbirth, infanticide, nursing patterns, responses to crying children, child autonomy, and play theories.
It’s an intriguing book to me, but I’ll admit it probably won’t intrigue most of you.
There is one quote that has really stuck with me over the past few days, from his writing on father-child relationships and allo-parenting.
“I have heard many anecdotal stories, among my own friends, of children who were raised by difficult parents but who nevertheless became socially and cognitively competent adults, and who told me that what had saved their sanity was regular contact with a supportive adult other than their parents, even if that adult was just a piano teacher whom they saw once a week for a piano lesson.” (p.190)
I don’t mean to call our neighbors difficult adults; I don’t mean to speak negative things over the neighborhood at all. Instead, I mean to hope that maybe, just maybe, we could be a piano teacher to some of these kids. To the kids who see stabbings happen in their homes; to the kids who are hungry and malnourished; to the kids who are abused; to the kids who watch drunkenness and all the effects of it; to the kids who won’t ever have papers or a country to belong to, or maybe even a family to call their own; to the kids who just come over because they want a hug or a high five. May God give us the privilege to be a piano teacher, or a puzzle-provider or cold-water-pourer or fellow-colorer. May it provide sanity–sweet, Jesus Christ, our sanity (Charlie Hall, Mystery).