I know that living here is better for my family. We have more time together, a more relaxed pace, more time in nature and playing outdoors.
Yet I can’t help but think of what I left behind.
As a public school teacher, I knew that I was making a diference. With over 100 students most years, I didn’t change each and every kid, but I did affect some of them. I taught them to trust their writing or that reading can be fun or that there is a lot of injustice in the world and it’s up to us to do something about it. I liked to think that my influence on those teenagers spread like a ripple. They went out into the world soon after they left my classroom, and I was changing things little by little.
But I was also exhasausted at the end of the week teaching those 100 plus kids, and it was often my own kids who suffered because of it. When I was both frantically doing all I could to get ready for the next day or the next week and also dragging through the weekends and after-school times, it was stressful for all of us. And while I think that public schools provide amazing services for the majority of kids, it also often ends up being about the lowest common denominator. The awful truth is that while I felt like that was okay for other kids, it’s not what I wanted for my own.
Now, I do teach the homeschool co-op, but these are kids who are not going to be very influenced by my way of thinking since they already believe what I believe. They know how to compost and why it is important to eat pastured eggs and more than one way to be a social activist and which meditation method they prefer the best. I can teach them academics, and I can help them develop their ideas even more, but they don’t need me in quite the same way.
So it feels like I have sacrificed other people’s kids for my own. Honestly, it’s a decision that I would make over and over. I do value my own kids more than others–and I want to bring them up in the healthiest way I can. I think that any parent who doesn’t admit that is lying to themselves at least a little.
One of the reasons why I chose Dancing Rabbit over other intentional comunities is because of the mission for outreach and education. And it is a lot of fun to meet new people and talk to them about ways that they want to change their lives.
Because I don’t think that it is enough to move to this incredibly isolated rural place and live my life quietly and peacefully. There is just too much suffering in the world for me to feel okay abandoning it.
Sometimes I think that maybe I’ll go back out there and teach again. A year somewhere helping to set up systems at a school that really needs help for example?
I guess that’s another reason why this blog is important to me. To feel like I’m still sending ripples out there somehow.
Does it ever feel like what is best for your family is at odds with how you can best help others? How do you find a balance?