Saturday, November 12, 2011

Labels

Labels are not inherently bad.  They are a way that we can communicate who we are or what our ideals are, especially if the labels are self-chosen.  There are labels that I would use to describe myself and I'm proud of, but no longer shout from the rooftops about.  Homebirthing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attachment parenting.

There are labels that have fit for a time and then been shrugged off.  I dabbled with Waldorf, spent 7 yrs or so as a strict vegan and even more as a vegetarian.  I had a hard time giving up the describer unschooling when Camille chose school, but I replaced it with country-living, respectful parenting, and joy-seeking, and I feel pretty good about that :)


The reason labels are on my mind is that I have a very sensitive girl with big feelings that she doesn't always know how to process very well.  Ordinary life moments can sometimes throw her into a blind panic.  I know that a lot of kids in similar circumstances are labeled with a diagnosis.  I know that this can be a welcomed thing.  It can give parents a sense of being able to identify, seek support, and move to a better (or different) way of approaching or helping guide their children through their feelings.  This kind of label is so different from a self-chosen describer, though, and I hesitate to take that path.  I think for now, I'm going to go with free-spirited for her, unless she asks for outside help managing her big feelings.
running in the moonlight
Any stories, advice, or links to resources that come to mind, are welcome here. 

4 comments:

  1. Interesting topic! I chose to read this post amongst the many I am skipping upon returning from two weeks away. My kids can be the same way - intense reactions to little things. Labels? Gifted, over-excitability, ADHD, anxiety. Who knows. But this books was pretty helpful...

    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Intensity-Understanding-Sensitivity-Excitability/dp/0910707898

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  2. Oh, I love that picture. What an awesome choice for this post!

    Labeling is a complicated topic, for sure. To describe human beings who are complex by their very nature... choosy, deep, emotional, intuitive, sometimes erratic, sometimes contrary (and contradictory), ferociously independent and by turns needy... most of us have bits of all of these things, and hopefully we can be kind and understanding to others during their spells and 'moments', too. That's what I say. :)

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  3. I totally agree with your thoughts about labels--chosen vs. imposed is a BIG difference. I think as a society we have lost our tolerance for social diversity. The institutions that loom large in our country (government, school, big business) require conformity to function. Areas like farming, small business, art and cooking are much more celebratory (or at least accepting) of different ways of being in the world. Why? Because those areas still work (and work well) with a variety of people-types.

    Labels can be useful to find a tribe. I wish they were always used to include instead of exclude.

    As always, wise words, Mama!

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  4. Ah...this post really resonated for me. I have a lot of this same "issues" with my son (although they aren't issues so much and I think you know what I mean...it's just the word that popped up for me). Isaac is just BIGGER than life and so sensitive and is easily overwhelmed and thrown off course. His spirit, his soul, they are old and he struggles living in his little body. It's tough on a mama but I love what Stephanie said - kindness and understand and compassion is what they need - not labels. Like you I'd never choose to seek out a label for my boy. He's who he is...who he is supposed to be. I love him for that...and never want him to feel that he isn't perfect just as he is. Sending you love and light. <3 ~Debbie

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