Blaes, on Kinship. Sling Diaries, Vol VII

November 20, 2017

The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.

Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.

ON KINSHIP

When I was about seven years old, I kicked (with great intent) my fifteen months younger brother in his groin during an argument.  I half expected to feel accomplished for my perfect execution, but when he dropped to his knees and whimpered in pain, I froze in horror that I had hurt him so badly.  After my parents thoroughly reprimanded me, my dad pulled me to the side and quietly told me, as if it were a secret, something that has stayed with me:  when everyone has turned their back on you, your brothers and sisters will be your friends forever.
As the oldest of my five siblings, this was both an order and a guidepost.  My siblings and I could, save the normal adolescent disputes, be allied as we moved through life. 

Because my family fostered this in us, I believe in family--all kinds.  I believe in brothering and sistering our communities to make them stronger.  We don't have to try to be kind.  Kindness is an innate quality.  It will always be here.  We just have to stop being unkind.  We can't kick each other in the groin and expect to feel good about it afterwards.
A large part of me believes that by teaching my children to take care of each other, they will also understand and feel compelled to take care of the family of friends and neighbors and strangers that they will create in their lives.  I feel fairly confident that by breaking up a squabble over a toy fifteen times in one afternoon, I am teaching my children how to one day brother or sister another person.  That perhaps, eventually, they will understand that this goes beyond our own family and into our communities. 
And here's the miracle about these kindred spaces we are in: when we look inward and face our weaknesses and fears, we become brave and strong enough to look outward and face the pain of the world. It is both magic and common sense.

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