I have struggled with this for years. There are so many worthy causes out there, how do you pick one? Environmentalism is a good one, and I’m behind that. I try to be green but really, you’re just picking which evil to focus on and ignoring the others. People talk about battery and electric cars saving gasoline and that cuts down on petroleum use. The problem is that most petrol is used to make plastics. Plastics are in everything, everywhere. My vegan shoes are plastic. I’m saving animals but exploiting non-renewable resources. Recycling keeps things out of landfills, but the amount of fossil fuels burned to process recycled products pretty much counteracts any benefits we are getting. Environmental groups focus on reducing industrial emissions but animal agriculture makes up over half the greenhouse gas emissions, and is the cause of thousands of acres of rainforest being leveled (for cattle grazing), and not one group focuses on that. You choose your evils. Hubby and I were talking about this the other day. He’s the one who pointed that out. I was dismayed to realize that he’s right.
He said something then that humbled me and made me rethink my priorities and how I look at things. He said that the cause he had chosen was being a good husband and father. He said that no one talks about that as being a cause worth focusing all your energies on. He’s got a point. Everyone says they want to be a great parent and partner, but few people actively focus their lives and energies around that goal. Hubby does. When he was actively working out, he would get up at 4 in the morning to go exercise before work so that he wouldn’t miss any time with the family. Getting healthy was his priority so that he could be around longer for the boys and me. He’s regrouping now because he realized that the way he was going about it made him look good but didn’t really make him healthier. He works overtime – a couple of extra hours a day, or a Saturday – so that we can keep the kids in private school where they’re getting an excellent education. Nothing crazy though, he still makes sure that he has plenty of time to spend with us every day. He’ll go in early rather than stay too late. He actually does make decisions with the best interest of the family at the base of them. Not making more money, not getting cool stuff for the kids, not keeping up with the Jonses, but spending time with the family and taking care of us.
That really threw me for a loop. I knew that, whenever it came down to a big decision, I’d always picked the family, but it never occurred to me that that’s where I was actively focusing. That they are my cause. But they are. Financial management is for the family, so that we can live well and keep living well into retirement without being a burden on the kids. So that we can give them good childhoods with some of what they want and all of what they need. Getting healthy is so that I can stick around for them. My health causes my husband concern. I don’t want that. I want to be healthy so that I can keep up with the kids and be around to watch them maybe get married and play with any grandbabies they might give me. I want to grow old with my husband. Writing is to keep me sane. Well, as sane as I can reasonably be. I have been trying to focus on environmentalism to teach the boys to be good stewards of the Earth. Even if we are picking our evils, I want them to be aware of at least some of them. All of these things that I thought were singular things to focus on actually relate back to being a good wife and mother. I am concerned about the other causes int he world, but the most important thing to me is now, and has always been, my family.
I knew they were important to me, but didn’t realize that they are my cause. That they can be my cause and that that’s just as important as saving the world. I can make sure that we raise our sons to care about the world around them, to be good people who leave the world a better place for having been there, and to be productive people. That’s a worthy thing to focus on. Hubby always was smarter than me.