There’s this cartoon from the New Yorker I saw a long time ago. A man at a cocktail party is kneeling in the corner of the living room. Someone asks, What’s Larry doing? And the response, He’s trying to find himself.
I laugh at that one every time, out of recognition surely. Spending our adult years finding ourselves is largely a modern occupation. Our ancestors were once fully-fledged adults towards the end of their adolescence.
The whole culture was geared to guide children towards autonomy and purpose. And together they did it really well.
Their secret then? It’s simple but profound: they created cultures based on the observation that our sense of self arises as a consequence of our kinship bonds and communal life.
It’s in relationship that our child develops his or her sense of self. So it matters who you draw near to yourself. It matters who your partner is. The people you trust. The friends you keep. The moments you highlight together as a community. And how you celebrate life together.
Your child’s sense of self is fostered by the village.
How to create that village, that’s our shared exploration. What’s working for you?