My friend Stephen has a theory, mentioned here before, that people without children cannot understand what it is like to have children. In other words, all those “hey, you should have kids… it’s great” advertisements that we the childed beam out are effectively “blah blah blah children blah blah” to those without. Stephen would maintain, I think, that some sort of switch gets thrown as soon as you’re caring for children, and that after that switch gets thrown, nothing is ever the same.
I tend to agree. I certainly know that nothing I imagined about having a child bears before bears any resemblance to what it’s actually like. Partly this means that none of the “we’ll never be able to have any fun again” paranoia didn’t pan out. And partly it’s that it isn’t possible to understand the whole “I will jump in front of a train for you” kind of love that child rearing engenders almost instantly.
Put another way, there is a great divide of understanding between people with children and people without. I don’t mean to suggest that people who, through choice or circumstance, don’t rear children are lesser people, simply that there are certain things they can’t sense.
Which is all to say that, after reading this observation from Tom Peters about his own life circumstances, I’m left, mostly, saying “huh?”
I’m pretty sure that he’s describing something substantial and important. And I’m just as sure that from here on the outside of his life looking in, it’s almost completely impossible for me to understand anything about it.
Something has happened to Tom Peters, and as a result he’s standing on the other side of a great divide of understanding. I’m not sure whether he’s capable of communicating where he is to me, or whether I’m even capable of listening.