I was asked by a fellow co-worker earlier this month what I would do if I found out that I had been doing everything wrong. (Ahhh.... Those pesky co-workers of mine!)
If you recall, I posted a blog not too terribly long ago about the importance of spending time with like-minded people. I believe it is very important for people to feel comfortable with their decisions and for those decisions to be reinforced and supported, rather than a person feeling the need to justify and defend every choice he or she makes in life. But, it is also important to spend some time outside of one's comfort zone and for one's ideas and ways of doing things to be challenged.
I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating what's going on around me. Right now my world tends to revolve around my daughter and her needs --whether it's introducing her to a new food or shielding her from harmful things. I read articles and search the web about various parenting topics, continue to attend La Leche League meetings (even though I think I may have this breastfeeding thing down pat), and have started attending Attachment Parenting meetings, as well. I also bounce ideas off of some of those mainstream parents that work with me.
Diversity is more than a collection of differing opinions, lifestyles, and histories. Diversity creates the opportunity for an individual's belief system to be tested and provides the groundwork for self-actualization, which requires higher thinking and problem-solving skills. Bombardment with diversity may cause a person to reject old ideas and/or adopt new ones. This isn't bad, so to speak, but it may not always be comfortable.
I never learned from a man who agreed with me.
So what did I tell that co-worker?
I simply told him that I would forgive myself for any short-comings and also remind myself that I had done the best I could do with the information I had at the time. I told him that although my parenting style and the choices I have made with respect to my daughter may not be mainstream, they hardly come from out of left field. There is a ton of research to support the decisions that I have made. I also told him that I welcome most anyone to bring his or her ideas to the table for me to consider. I'm not suggesting that I will change my ways, but I will listen to you and your suggestions. Life doesn't happen in a vacuum.