Sunday, November 09, 2008

Preconceived Notions

I've been pondering this in bits and pieces for a while, but more so since yesterday. One of the clients in the office I work in a couple times a week was in and we were talking about how he has been researching community viability and is convinced that our towns and cities are not set up right. I know what he is talking about, because I've lived in Europe and Asia and towns and cities there are walkable. You can go down the street and get everything you need. No need for a car. We were talking about how it is healthier to have that kind of lifestyle. In North America a car is required for banking, groceries, and sometimes even just to go to see a neighbour, depending on where you live. We could refashion our lifestyles to make them healthier just by taking on a community model that incorporates our whole lives, rather than compartmentalizing work, entertainment, and the place where we sleep and store our stuff.

All of this is interesting stuff, but what he said that made me ponder into other directions was that there are a number of people who have a preconceived notion that he is a "communist" because he is researching and considering the consequences of this kind of community.

Which made me think about other preconceived notions.

I breastfeed my kids and make their baby food from scratch (well, most of it). We are also about 90% chemical free in our house. And there is a huge misconception that this makes me "crunchy". I do these things because it works for us. But I am almost the antithesis of crunchy in my own mind: I vaccinate my kids and believe in vaccinating very strongly, we use disposable diapers, and although I love the premise of AP parenting, I just cannot do it long term, so we are more middle-of-the-road with our parenting. I like to pick and choose from among parenting trends for what works for us.

Another one that gets me is "religious". We do not attend church regularly. It is pointless with Xander, because we end up chasing him around the building. That worked okay when we went to a small church, but that church closed and the one we belong to is huge. I am not a big prayer person. I believe in God, but prayer feels a little fake to me. I find communication with God by singing. This has been true my whole life. There's a story of me being about Xander's age and we lived in a remote community. My Mom is Anglican and my Dad Catholic. I was baptised Catholic. The church in that community was one building with rooms on opposite sides: one for the Catholic service and the other for the Protestants. The priest and minister would stand in the room between to greet the people as they came in. Every week Mom and Dad which side I wanted to attend. (They say that this caused quite some interest between the priest and minister.) Every week the answer was the same: "I want to go to the singing side." But because we don't go to church right now, there is an assumption that we are not religious. Certainly you would not know that if you listened to conversations that we have with Xander though. It's another preconceived notion.

My favourite one though is the notion of being an athlete. I was never good at sports in school. I am not good at anything requiring a stick and ball of any kind, which leaves out anything team related. And in school athlete = team sports. When I was a kid I biked like crazy, swam really well, and skied like a demon. But I was not an athlete; I didn't do team sports. As I have gotten older this has turned around. I discovered running a number of years ago. Now a lot of people consider me athletic. This also cracks me up. I suppose I am, but by running standards, I am a slug. lol!

Still, these are all just notions. Preconceived or not. We are much more colourful than that!

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