Parenting in The Idiot and a bit of FOMO

Something that occurred to me this morning: FOMO – The fear of missing out. I hear about that a lot on Instagram and around the web. “The internet increases that troubling feeling that there is something out there you are missing out on!” Yeah, well… so does talking to a friend, watching tv, reading a book, or going to the store.

FOMO desert sunrise
Something I rarely miss out on – the sunrise!

Here’s the thing that got a hold of me though, shaking me awake as I stared out in the darkness feeling like I’ve got to DO something or… “I’ll just die!” as my teenaged self used to say.

You ARE missing out. Every single day there is something that you cannot get or do or see. That’s the nature of life. Much the way death is unavoidable, so is missing out. Our mission is to make peace with it.


Feeling better now.

I was only able to read about a half an hour this morning because I’m heading into the city and had to prioritize some things. My yoga and meditation practice took precedence, then sitting here writing to you.  Something had to give. And, unfortunately, we can’t sit and read for several hours EVERY morning, now, can we?

I’m still reading The Idiot, of course, and I’m loving it so much.

Here’s the prince talking about the children he encountered while he was in seclusion “getting well.”

“I made many enemies there, and all on account of the children. Even Schneider tried to make me feel ashamed. What were they afraid of? A child can be told everything! I’ve always been struck by how poorly grown-ups know children, how poorly even fathers and mothers know their children. Nothing should be hidden from children on the pretext that they are little and it’s too soon for them to know. What a sad and unfortunate idea! And how quick the children notice it when their fathers consider them too little to understand anything, while they in fact understand everything. Grown-ups don’t realize that a child can give extremely serious advice even about difficult matters. My Lord, when that pretty little bird of a child looks at you, so happy and confiding, aren’t you ashamed to deceive it?”

That rambling style of Dostoyevsky… or maybe it’s just the way Russian is translated into English. I love reading it though. It always makes me smile, even when the subject is grave.

This quote, how the prince believed children should be treated, rang a bell with me. It’s much the same way I feel about children. I’ve always thought it very strange how we treat children in the US, as if they are objects until they turn eighteen, or older, incapable of understanding and dealing with the world they were born into, a burden on those that created them.

I have… let’s just say, “unconventional” and “unpopular” beliefs about the raising of children. That could be a whole other post, but we’ll leave it at that I don’t believe they are burden… hold on, yes they are! But they’re a burden we have chosen to pick up! Don’t be a jerk to them about it.

And I believe, much like the prince, that children are far more capable than we allow them to be. I’ve always thought that when a  child asks a question, we should answer it as honestly and as straight forward as possible, not in parables or symbols, but with clear and precise words.

And we should be listening to them in earnest when they communicate in words AND in actions/behavior. We’re there to support them while they learn to navigate the world, and the way they do that best is by doing it themselves with us at their back cheering them on.

Go back to my first post, New CLASSICS Read: The Idiot, for more of my thoughts on the book.


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