Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Raising a Counter Culture Child

I got the link to this article from my local homeschooling egroup and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
I've frequently mentioned that I'm anti-pop myself. I was raised being told not to conform to the ways of the world and after three decades of having that message drilled into my brain (yes, it's still ongoing. I go to my father's church, have temporarily moved back into his house.), non-conformity has become a knee-jerk reaction. I don't always triumph though. Society has been able to put in its bit at brainwashing as well.
I'm not exactly certain what raising a counter culture child would entail. For example, from the word go, she has had some very nice branded things, but they were mostly gifts and the ones my husband and I did get ourselves were chosen for practical reasons (please note the defensive tone, lol). I would like to think though that, despite the presence of logos in her life, Marguerite wouldn't become brand-conscious. I'm trying to raise her not to associate possession with pride. I think it's okay to like having some things in your life and to display preferences, provided they're not based on the dictates of trends, wanting what the Joneses have (in fact, perhaps this isn't that healthy, I actually tend to shun things that I know the metaphorical Joneses have), or any other reason that would involve inciting a reaction from somebody else (because, Marguerite darling, would you really want to be admired for your possessions?)...
I'm far from being a complete ascetic; I do have my moments of materialism, albeit the thrift-shop variety (I have to have books and why exactly do I call myself a packrat? I do hold on to things even if for sentimental or whimsical reasons.). As for my daughter, I do tend to want things for her, things I know that can help her developmentally or she would enjoy (yes, thank you, I do realize that life is about having fun as well) that I can't make myself.
Sometimes, I do get the feeling that I'm being judged. I remember being laughed at when I said that I liked going to swap meets, or being questioned as though I was (was, because not an impossibility) a lunatic, for not wanting a yuppie job. I used to feel a sneer (although it was usually non-malicious amusement) in the air whenever I took out my obsolete Nokia 6210 (which I'd passed on to my young cousin, having inherited Husband's phone - I don't really know what it is, but it is sadly not an antiquity) to use amidst the presence of gadgets so hi-tech they're almost ridiculous (that's how I feel) and for an instant, I'd feel like lashing out, "I refuse to have possessions define the person I am. I'm still admirable and fascinating without silly doodads. Unlike YOU!". But just for a moment. I'd remember in time that I don't have to explain myself.
Going back to counter culture, television is indeed involved in a big way. As a rule, I don't like TV. Then, I sit down and tune in to the Travel Channel or Crime and Suspense and it all becomes theoretical. I'm proud to say though that I haven't watched a TV program in a week. I'm all for minimal exposure. TV isn't a bad thing, but it is too readily a tool for promoting consumer-driven lives (okay, sorry, that sounded pompous).
I haven't completely grasped the concept of counter culture yet, but I'm brave enough to say that that's the plan.


chamé said...

to conform or not to conform. i can also sometimes get caught in between. like you, i gear towards non-conformity and i also want that for my children (haha, isn't that why i unschool?). it's a bit of a struggle though when relatives start to question what we do. but i know they'll tire & get used to the idea :)

by the way, i enjoy reading your entries. i've subscribed to your feed and will definiely be back!

take care!

spinninglovelydays said...

hi, chamé. thanks for dropping by. i'm glad you left a comment. i've been trying to go to your site, but for some reason, i couldn't access it. i tried again just now through the link you left and was able to get there. blessings!:)

chamé said...

oh that's great! my website suffered a forced hiatus for more than 2 months because my web host deleted all my files (!). I had to build my site all over again from scratch. The saddest thing of all was that most of my archived posts are now irretrievable. I've learned my lesson so I regularly back up my files... and moved to a new web host :)