Yes I am.
But I don’t actually think about it, thanks to my hefty dose of caffeine each morning and most afternoons.
I have (again, for the 498th time) reflected on the big question I face every day I go anywhere with my kids.
“*Gasp* Four children!! [Insert Title of Post Here]”
Nearly 3 years into this gig.
I dream up countless variations of sarcastic responses, attempt to respond with humor, and realize, again, that a dry wit does not necessarily translate linguistically or culturally.
Although I may not read all cultural cues equally well, a blank stare in response to my broken Chinese translates pretty clearly.
So I will unburden my weary soul and we can walk this path together, you and I.
Ok, enough with the sauciness.
Although I have grown up in Europe and the US, and traveled to many countries where people have 5-17 children, and have 4 of our own precious treasures, I did not realize how much being constantly bombarded by cultural [non]subliminal messages about the benefits of “only one child” affected me until we had been in China for about 20 months, and then traveled to Thailand for a couple weeks.
I distinctly remember walking into the supermarket one day, and saw a Thai family with 3 small children hanging all over the grocery cart.
Suddenly I remembered that the rest of the world still had multiple children in their families, and somehow seemed to function reasonably well, survive financially, and get them educated to become adults.
And then I was even more astounded astounded to realize how validated I felt in this observation.
I never dreamed how much these constant, daily questions by friends and strangers alike, however kindly and curiously meant, penetrated and stabbed at my deeper value system.
I have read about these kinds of things, and may proudly think I am immune to these kinds of mind games.
Thinking back on the intense reaction I had in Thailand and the implications make me realize how we are all affected by the cultural messages we are internalizing every day.
It has made me realize that all around me are 1.4 billion people with a filtered view of reality, and I am less emotionally reactive to their genuine concerns for me.
But if I stop there and don’t examine myself, I am assuming that I am not at risk for programming myself with another illusion of what is real and true and gives meaning.
I have to recognize the importance of making sure what I intentionally take in from the physical and electronic world is in line with my worldview, so my soul is fed healthy food and not just potato chips and chocolate.
Even if it is a French truffle.
To go with my second cup of X-tra strong java.