Ignorance is Bliss

Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
– Maya Angelou



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  1. I have been struggling with this quote since you posted it. The “Ignorance is Bliss” bugs me. It’s such an oxymoron. I know there have been times when I wished that I could have stayed in the dark on issues, but honestly, the ignorance kept me in the situation longer, incurring more damage in the end. Not such a blissful existence.

  2. Z,

    Yay! You caught that.

    I struggled with it when I posted it.

    All respect due to Ms. Angelou, I think that’s a crock!

    I was hoping to open a can of worms or at least a discussion.

    Posting on that topic today, if I get through math with Will and violin and reading with Jenny…

  3. Well, I can say that Ms. Angelou writes from her own experiences and survival of a different kind. Perhaps she didn’t know there were any other options than the one she was dealt. But that is not all children.

    And I don’t think endurance has anything to do with what you do or do not know. I believe it is an inherent trait. Some can endure a whole lot more than others whether their childhoods were easy or not. Maya Angelou has endured some pretty horrific situations, but not all that have experienced what she has or worse have endured. I don’t believe they didn’t endure because they didn’t know there was an alternative. It is because they didn’t have it in them to search for the alternative.

  4. Z,

    Do you think endurance can be taught?

    That is, if you see someone who isn’t able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, is it possible to intervene, or show by example or give guidance?

    I agree with you that endurance is an inherent trait.

    I have seen situations where individuals didn’t know what they were made of until their situation was critical. I’ve also seen individuals who can’t/won’t rise above.

    It fascinates me that some have what it takes and some don’t. It’s the nature versus nurture thing. If it isn’t there, can it be taught?

  5. Oh, you can definitely give guidance and intervention, but if they choose not to accept it or still can’t process how to utilize it, it doesn’t help them. I do think that being an example to your children will help them tremendously in enduring their own issues in life, but it is still up to them to apply those examples and lessons. You know early on whether your kids have it.

    I am going to use my ex, the N, for an example of this. When we first separated, I tore his emotional facade wide open. I left him, without notice. He came home and things were missing from the house including me and the kids. His abandonment dam burst. I used that vulnerable time to tell him why I thought he behaved the way he did. How his parents had actually let him down and how that has affected him leading to the destruction of our marriage. He listened! He went to counseling and confronted his parents. When they denied responsibility for his feelings, he repaired that emotional dam with a stronger one. What else was he to do? He couldn’t handle his feelings, being vulnerable, and opening his life to possibly being hurt ever again, especially when they denied any wrong doing (they left him and his sisters in another country with an irresponsible caregiver to start a life in the US)! He didn’t have the endurance to push through to a different mindset (stopping his hurt and the hurt he inflicted on others) so he went back to what he knew with a vengeance. He would tell you he is a fighter, but I know he is in flight.

  6. Z,

    I’ve often wondered how some can overcome horrendous childhoods to go on to become amazing parents while others continue to act out the parenting they learned.

    What is that defining quality?

    My brother is an amazing father. He sure didn’t learn that from our dad. Did he learn that from Mom? Is it something he’s born with? Is it a culmination of experiences from this life and past lives? Is it his education?

    I know… it’s many factors, but I’d sleep better knowing the combination of factors and feel better knowing it’s not left to chance.

  7. Boy, how I wish I had the answer to that! Or that there was a test to determine which way they would go. Or better yet, a cure!

    In raising our kids, we can only do our best. That is not an excuse for bad parents, but rather to try and ease those of us that REALLY worry about the future.

    Thinking about parenting and my ex…his parents left 3 children at that time. Not just him. He is the only N. He is the oldest, felt like he had been left HUGE responsibilities while they were gone, and looked after his sisters welfare also. I am not saying the girls were not harmed, they were, it just didn’t manifest the same way. So, with that, I think you just don’t know.

    It’s scary not to know or to be able to predict what will happen with them. You have to be able to sleep though knowing that you did the best you could every day.

  8. Z,

    There are no guarantees.

    All any of us can do each day is wake up and proceed to do our best – whether we have kids or not.

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I know I am. ;)

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