I've never really been "big" on labels. Labels were a huge deal in high school of course where I dated two different boys. The first one was frustrated that I wouldn't place the label "going out" on our relationship. Why did it matter? We were seeing each other regularly, we would kiss. Why did we need a label just to let other people know what we were doing after school?
With the second boy I dated I did allow him to place the label on our relationship. But then it only caused problems when I didn't act the way he thought I was "supposed to" as defined by the label. Like when I had a party at my house and spent the night tending to my hostessing duties as opposed to being glued by his side like he thought a girlfriend "should" be.
But labels exist for adults too. I was recently looking at a book online about bringing more creativity into our childrens' lives. In the review section, there were comments stating that the book was not original the mom was simply practicing "Waldorf" education methods, so people interested in this book should just go buy a Waldorf book.
Another label that is big for adults right now is "Being Green" or "living sustainably." The problem with using either of these labels on yourself is that all of the sudden people start to nitpick every decision you make, product you use, or thing you choose to do. I was reading a woman's blog who said she loved to collect little "bits of nature" for her children to use in crafts. Things like pine cones, acorns, and sea glass. "Although," she admitted guiltily, "Sea glass isn't really from nature, but I just think it is pretty!" She had to defend herself before the whistle-blowing started.
Another label that adults take seriously and is pretty "hip" right now is "vegetarianism." Whether they abstain for ecological, social, or moral reasons, they are feisty too. They get angry about people who call themselves "semi-vegis" saying "a non vegetarian is simply a non vegetarian." Then there's always a "higher law." Because people who are really serious would be organic vegetarian. Or really more serious would be organic vegan. . .
Everyone is so anxious to label themselves and others, but labels put so much pressure on everyone. I just want to be able to live my life the way I feel good about.
I mentioned these three "adult labels" because they are all camps that I relate with but not that I want to feel pressured by actually giving myself the label. I want my kids to spend most of their time being active and creative. I want to help them to appreciate nature and enjoy the outdoors. But if I called us a "Waldorf home" then I'd be in trouble if I ever wanted to do a more =gasp= Montessori-based activity with my children, because those people are serious about the differences in their methods.
Jeremy and I would also like to live more "sustainably." (It's big in his line of work.) We've started recycling this year. We take our bottles and cans and cardboard three blocks down the highway and sort them ourselves. But if we say we are "Green" people others will ask why we only now started going to the recycling center after living here three years. And they may question why we even bother recycling when, for the majority of the time, we have used disposable diapers with our children.
Finally, our family rarely eats meat. We used ground beef in our delicious spaghetti and meatballs Jeremy made us for dinner last night. But, I can tell you the last time I bought red meat was in May when our families were out here for Jeremy's graduation. We had bison burgers--because it's a local novelty. I don't want to be "vegetarian" though, because sometimes I really want some bacon, and I don't want to hear the audible gasp of others when I do.
Jeremy said what we need is a family manifesto where we write down our goals ind ideas for raising our family--which aspects of popular thought we are using in our home.
We want our family to play outdoors, to appreciate nature, to have creative minds. We want our family to appreciate the things they have, and not be wasteful. We want our family to not buy too much into consumerism, and to be actual producers of many beautiful and useful things. We want to be good stewards of the earth. We want to be healthy. We want to be active and eat good foods. We want to enjoy the food that the earth provides us--grains, fruits, vegetables-- not just food that comes in plastic packages. Most importantly we want to be free to make the choices we feel good about. Free to follow inspiration not fads. Free from labels.