Parenthood Is No Place For Perfectionists

While still shaking my head over the idiocy of David Jones, who claims that two same-sex partners cannot provide a warm and safe environment for their children, I came across a new book written by Andrew Solomon: Far From the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love. In it he:

tells the stories of parents who learn to deal with their exceptional children and find profound meaning in doing so.

He introduces us to families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, Solomon documents repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

Solomon is himself the gay child of straight parents, and is now, in turn, a parent himself. Here he talks movingly and lucidly about the nature of vertical identities (those that we inherit from our parents) and horizontal identities (those that we do not share with our parents, and which we develop through our peer groups). This short video is worth watching.

The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr also has an interesting interview with him.

His book is now on my list to get. Perhaps David Jones should also read it. He might learn a thing or two.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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