“I am not really awesome, I can’t run really fast.” – Phoebe
Ivy is now a Brownie, the first step in becoming a professional cookie salesperson (Girl Scout). And this coming week she will earn a merit badge, the “Snack Badge”. Which made me laugh – it was appropriate for their name (though they will make milk shakes – not brownies).
But part of my laugh was my own bias. I see snacks as kind of silly. Great to have, but not necessarily productive. I would have been much more impressed if she earned the “Money Manager” badge (actual badge, goes with cookie sales – seriously). But why do I value one over the other? Why am I poking fun of cookie sales?
I think there is an unwritten slant against the skills of homemaking. Of course we all want a loving family, but family building requires certain skills. Helping with homework, playing with dolls, making snacks – these skills are valuable, but who seeks to be good at them? Instead we seek skills by dollar’s value. So a doctor or lawyer are more esteemed than a chef or teacher. A stay-at-home parent can even face judgment – as though building a career is more important than building a family.
It plays out quietly in our country. We define people by their career, while giving lip service to the family. We count diplomas on the wall, rather than how many times an adult reads the Belly Button Book. We accept long hours at work, but forego dinner together as a family. And in little steps our focus shifts to accumulating wealth (or at least possessions – not necessarily paid for), rather than becoming skilled home builders.
Why? We claim both to be important, so why do our actions declare work to be more important than family?
I think it might be our definition of awesome. Phoebe was depressed when she announced she was “not really awesome”. I have no idea where she got the idea that speed was an awesome requirement. But as adults we are just as confused. A mansion, a Telsa electric car, or Forbes Billionaire – these are awesome. But a lasting marriage, a loving home, children growing up to respect their parents – these are nice. We want these things, but the former capture our imagination.
Really money has a grip on our imagination.
But what if relationships (family, friends) had a grip on our imagination? Then I think we would be Googling milkshake recipes. Planning to swing by the store (I have foot long straws you can borrow!) and digging out the blender from depths of the cabinets. We would call the kids from the TV or invite a friend over – We would earn our Snack Badge together drinking milkshakes… Imagine this. It would be awesome and unlike buying a mansion this dream could happen tonight.