I just met an old friend in Tesco, who said she had noticed my links on Facebook and that what she was going to say was probably going to end a long friendship.
What she then went on to tell me was that she thinks all children should by law be in school, she thinks the way I bring up my children is a form of child abuse, but that she defends my quirky oddities when talking to others who criticise me (!!!!) because she has always found my arguments clear and logical.
This is not how I have always found hers, but she is fun and warm and a laugh and good company so our friendship has survived many differences of opinion.
I think that the way I allow my children to make their own choices is at the heart of her opinion, one of my children has gender disphoria and I thoroughly support his choice in being the person he feels he is inside. Another, though choosing school finds the intensity of the timetable too much, I allow him to decide when he goes and when he doesn’t. Remembering my own schooldays I know I could have achieved more if I had had this choice. My last child struggled more at school than any of the others, saw a news item on home education and gave a lengthy impassioned plea to be home educated. It was not convenient, I was enjoying my job, I was enjoying my peace, but her arguments were clear, logical and undeniable. It has been a steep but amazing learning curve for me. I have never slotted so easily into a social situation before. I have done and learned many things that I never otherwise would have and acquired a certain political awareness and a campaigning spirit.
When I had children my wish for them was that they would be able to be thoroughly themselves and judge their success on their own terms; that they would be approved of just for being. I have not changed my mind. Some of my relations (and possibly my friend) think that my kids do not show me enough respect. I hope deep down that they feel respect for me, but they can say anything to me, I want them to be honest with me and yes their views are often uninformed and lacking experience and even hurtful but I would not close down the channels of communication between us because of that.
Is the friendship over, I do not know.
I left her wishing her well and pointed out to her if she had even the slightest suspicion that there is any sort of karma in this world she should make sure that her opinions are at least carefully researched before she lobbies to remove the civil liberties of her fellow citizens.