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After a baby’s birth, Mom becomes the ‘womb’, the context for his continuing development. This is so much more than just making a safe home, or choosing the best food for him. The womb and placenta, like Mom, are mediating structures meant to link the child to his wider environment through a bulky, messy, murky mass that impedes flow even as it facilitates flow. I’m not calling Mom names here, just pointing out that all attempts to do away with this design, this ‘inefficient’, personal, slow, messy process are dis-integrated, wrong-headed, dangerous.
If I wanted to teach a child, I’d give his mother rich opportunities to learn, to ingest great materials, to practice skills, to discuss whatever she finds delightful, wondrous, or interesting. I imagine she’d do the mediating for that particular child better than any artificial womb I could create. Fr. Luigi Giussani wrote, “I am an educator if I communicate myself.” Unless I can be a real part of your child’s context, mediated to him through his mother’s wisdom and discernment about his needs and capabilities, I cannot truly communicate my self, or anything else, to him.
We need more people in children’s REAL LIVES and fewer contrived, artificial kiddie activities, classes, and play-spaces. It does take a village, but that village better grow up organically around the home to serve the child and his parents in truth. I’m hoping to be part of the village for the families I love, but I don’t want to abstract the children from those wombs in order to give myself to them.
Does this make sense to you? I’d love to hear your feedback on this one!
One of my favorite talks is about Mom understanding herself as this sort of continuing context for the child: Building the Bridge.