I’m not religious. I never have been, and probably never will be. If there is one religion I’m close to it’s Buddhism. But I’m not devout. Buddhism has many facets, but one that has stuck with me, and seems simple in all forms of life – is kindness. Kindness is my religion.
The rules are easy; be kind.
The book can be read in one sentence; do all things with kindness.
The practice is all day, every day, and you don’t need a church to focus on it; act with kindness at your core.
Judgement is the opposite of kindness. Judging another person on their appearance, the way they act, the way they speak, the way they parent. That is not kind. But let’s be honest – we’ve all done it. I’ve done it. Not with intention, but certainly with knowing. Envy can sprout judgement, and if like me – when you compare yourself often to others, envy is a bitch. She turns up unnoticed, gets you all worked up about the smallest thing (someone having a new piece of clothing for their child, that you just can’t afford for your own, for example), and gets you right there in your guts, unwelcome and uncontrollable. Envy quickly turns into judgement. Once you get past that state of ‘oh I wish I had that’ … ‘I wish I could afford that’ … ‘I wish I had time to do that’. Once you get past those feelings, they can quickly turn into judgement. ‘She must be so materialistic to care about that more than REAL things’ … ‘I can’t believe she spent THAT much money on a piece of clothing’ … ‘She is so selfish to spend time on herself, than with her children’. That’s envy turning into judgement. And it is rotten.
If there were one thing that I believe all parents would agree on when asked what one thing we can all work together on, is respect. Respect is kindness. If we can all respect each other’s choices a little bit more, and respect that what someone is doing in their act of parenting is (in their eyes) the best for their children and family, then the world would naturally be a little kinder. Here at The Merge Journal, we focus on natural, eco parenting – which means choosing natural products (where possible) for our children to consume within their bodies, to absorb on their skin, to play with in their space, and to wear on their little figures. But that doesn’t mean we judge. There are extremes. We are not extremists – we strive to search for the better option. That doesn’t mean we judge others who don’t or can’t.
When I think my child needs intervention in the way of conventional medicine – I give it to them.
Equally, my children only drink water as a liquid (except for milk), and don’t eat processed sweets.
But that’s ok. I parent how I see fit. We all parent individually. We bring our children up to have the best possible childhood and future that we can imagine for them.
And on the days I doubt myself, I think about the comments I’ve had from people saying my two boys are wonderful, lovely boys. That they have a beautiful nature, and both are sweet and polite, and always smiling. In those moments I realise I must be doing something right – and that’s when I see it; people demonstrating a little more kindness, and a little less judgement.
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