uncle-ateral decisions11 Sep 2021
so i just got off the phone with one of my closer thought partners, abraham and we had a hilarious and juicy conversation. here’s a quick run down:
abraham: i have been really struggling as a single parent with all of the decisions i have to make on behalf of my two kids. in general, it’s been a part of my parenting approach to bring my kids in to as many decisions as possible. and there are so many decisions where i can’t. and i’ve been really stuck in the spot of how to involve them as much as possible knowing that ican’t actually involve them in everything. it’s actually exhausting, depressing even, to be holding so many decsions on their behalf without them seeing the labor i’m doing. plus, i really feel it from them when i don’t involve them in a decision because they let me know in no uncertain terms.
recently, i had a breakthrough with this. i started naming decisions that i make unilaterally ‘dad decisions’ and giving my kids the opportunity to reflect with me in the future about how dad decisions go.
- a “small” example: I decide what’s for dinner and present it to them without consulting
- a “bigger” example: I decide that we are not going to the movies as planned, because we don’t have enough time today, because I need to go food shopping.
i’ve found a huge amount of relief in this framing for two primary reasons:
- these decisions happen all the time and my naming them, i get to illuminate to them all the labor i do to help their/our lives happen
- they get share with me the moral weight of evaluating how dad decisions go over time. i hope that the outcome of this will be that learn via observation that my decision-making for them/us is mostly good AND I want them to have the right to expect real accountability from me for my unilateral decisions.
i think there’s a potentially interesting extension of this thinking/experiment: i think it could extend into the realm of man decisions or really, uncle decisions!
thoughts created in dialogue between lawrence & abraham:
- man decisions, although they happen all the time, are probably not something that will be as useful in practice as something like ‘uncle decisions.’
- it’s not totally clear what uncle decisions will be but one thing we know is that they will probably exist because of the unique positional relationship that uncles have. as people who relate to children and their parents (but aren’t their parents), they have a unique vantage point. this creates both a responsibility and a gift. the responsibility (should one choose to accept it) is to see and make interventions that are in the best interests of the child/ren and the parent(s). the gift is the trusted position of uncle.
abraham: and you know, whether or not this is helpful to anyone else isn’t the most important thing to me right now. for now, the FRAMING of dad decisions has created so much relief in my parenting that i just feel grateful to have stumbled onto it. i love sharing it with you, lawrence, and i am curious and excited to see if/how it could be influential for the league… but we’ll see!
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