Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy In(ter)dependence Day!

In the child development classes I took in college (don’t ask which time), I remember studying the developmental stages of human growth and the stage of development for autonomy or independence is usually ages 2-3, which is often signified as the period of one’s life when potty training takes place.  If one is successful at normal human development at this point, one learns independence.
My mom has often told of the first day I started kindergarten.  She said I barely waited until the car stopped in front of the school before I got out and without even a wave good-bye, headed towards my classroom by myself, eager to start school.

This story would often make me proud of myself because in the 70’s and 80’s, a female was highly praised for being independent.  For a woman to proclaim that, “she didn’t need anyone” to live a “happy”, “successful” life was such a caveat.  However, I’ve lived my life long enough to have learned, that was a lie.

Humans were created to be relational.  It’s why we communicate, have a memory, emote……love.  Why else would humans be made with the ability to laugh, smile and cry tears if not to communicate something to someone? I’m not saying that we should all revert to our infanthood and become dependent; being independent is not “wrong”. I’m saying that we each need a modicum of independence to become “interdependent”.

Interdependence allows us to rely on each other, count on each other and work together for the common good of everyone.  I think one of the reasons I dislike politics and hate war is because those things end up dividing people and not uniting us.

I also know women are especially good at interdependence because we love to communicate and be relational.  Perhaps centuries of oppression have taught us how to present our ideas with some strategic humility to have those ideas easily accepted or perhaps we always had that ability.  In any case, I believe a time is coming when we will need to assert our interdependence to teach the world how to work together and take back what belongs to us, this earth!  Now that will be an Independence Day to celebrate, won’t it?

-Tessa Charles

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