Morgan said the most interesting thing to us the other day. It was something like this:
"There are three people who can invent me--you two [pointing at me and Brendan] and ME!"
That statement led to a fascinating conversation about how, yes, we created her, but she is primarily responsible for inventing herself.
Because she is. We gave her the raw materials, but she must learn and figure things out and integrate concepts and make decisions, all things which will shape her mind and sense of self and sense of life--each of which will in turn affect future decisions and her thinking (and even the decision to think).
I've been thinking about that statement ever since, and our response to it. And I hope she has been thinking about it, too (and I hope Ryan, who witnessed the conversation, is thinking about it, too).
This idea of self-invention relates to my parenting principles in that I deliberately try to stay out of their self-invention as much as possible. And when I must interfere with their decisions (because they are doing something that violates or will likely violate rights), I do so deliberately and openly and with the minimal amount of interference/force necessary. It's important to be clear and completely honest and open about why I need to get involved (no "Because I said so!") so that they have a chance to learn from what happened, that they will then take that experience and use it for more (hopefully rational) self-invention.
One thing I wish I'd mentioned the other day, and will certainly mention the next time the topic comes up, is that self-invention isn't just the business of childhood--it's something we do all of our lives. Each day, with each decision. It's kind of a fun adventure, really, this self-invention. I'm rather enjoying the process myself. :)
There never was such a perfect set up for talking to our kids about this idea:
"Man is a being of self-made soul." Ayn Rand