The stay-at-home revolutionary

Revolution, I’ve realised since having a baby, is seething in suburbia.

Forget the young men who spew forth a verbal stew of Marxist quotes, or the lads and lasses marching around university campuses in Che Guevara shirts.

They’re nothing.

No indeed. The real rebellion is happening behind the bland blinds and urbane curtains of the most ordinary houses.

It’s here, that, under sometimes trying circumstances, young hearts and minds are moulded for the future. And parenthood is the bleary-eyed, throbbing heart of this rebellion.

I should, perhaps, clarify that not every home is a hotbed of political and social revolutionaries.

It is only those who raise their children to believe that there is such a thing as right and wrong, no matter how often  aloof academics claims they’re right in saying there is no wrong.

The rebellion is strong in those homes where children eat what’s on their plates and go to bed when they are told to because authority still exists (and it still belongs to the big people).

Revolution is behind children who have to sit and do their homework and make their own beds, without anyone worrying that discipline will stifle their creativity or hurt their feelings.

Yes, these principles and many more – from selflessness to service – burn bright in the hearts of a surprising number of parents who otherwise look entirely normal.

And some of them are even more rebellious in their views. They might, perhaps, teach their children that marriage was made to bind male to female, in the knowledge that this union very often leads to them becoming mum and dad.

No other history of the institution will do because that is where it started, and family is where it ends up.

Some children are taught that your identity is more than a feeling. It is made up of blood, and bone and family trees that you just can’t jump out of even if you would like to.

These are homes where children are taught that life begins at the start and finishes at the end–rather than at an arbitrary point labelled ‘choice’.

These are homes where family means dad, mum, grandpa, grandma, brother, sister, uncle, aunty and cousin.

Of course, there are other homes that still stick to the politically correct view of things. Where marriage means anything to anyone and so means nothing at all or where you are whoever you feel like on the day. Choice is King of the castle and the debate over whose choice matters most finishes with the word “mine”.

They are homes where there is no right or wrong, which makes discipline a complicated affair and teaching respect for authority more difficult than anything Einstein came up with.

But, for those who plan to raise responsible, compassionate citizens, there is little hope of remaining politically correct for long. Especially once little ones come along.

The belief that family is the first and most important unit in a society becomes the conviction that it is so. You might call it the slogan of the rebellion, in fact. It’s what the whole thing is about.

And this slogan, spoken or unspoken, sweeps through suburbia every day, defying politics and parenting trends, passed on through the generations by that fearsome rebel called the good parent.

And that, of course, is how I discovered the rebellion, although I must admit it all came as a surprise.

I thought I was just going to be a stay-at-home mum. Instead I find I’m a stay-at-home revolutionary.

This article was originally published on Stuff.co.nz

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