Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a person can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of set rules and set tasks.
English writer G.K. Chesterton.
I stumbled upon this quote while reading Rob Brezsny’s ‘Free Will Astrology’ column for the Seattle weekly magazine The Stranger. For those of you who don’t know, Brezsny’s horoscopes are the most fascinating capsules of obscure information and cultural references out there. I always read it, if only to pick up some new factoid which will sound very impressive at my next party.
Anyway, this quote struck a nerve with me. What Chesterton is saying about the perception of family life is still true today (though dude was writing this in the early 1900s). And lately I’ve just been wanting to rebel against this notion. The home is not dull; at least it doesn’t have to be. Sure, there is routine and a whole lotta responsibilities in my life. But there is also spontaneity, surprise, unpredictability, and a whole lotta fun. What I see ‘out there’ from my perch within the home is so much drudgery – where is the adventure and fun in a life full of work? How does working 60+ hours a week for someone else energize and invigorate life? What many people don’t seem to get – parents among them – is that families are living, breathing beings. They are always growing and changing, and the members within them get to grow and change as well. Gloria DeGaetano, founder of the Parent Coaching Institute calls this the Living System perspective. Life with children can become adventurous – as opposed to arduous – when we shift our parenting focus from controlling growth, to cultivating it.