Ben Bartosik

September 6, 2023

Continuing through Devlin's memoir; she attributes her early political consciousness to her father (who died while she was a kid).

She recalls a story in which she came late to tea and began flipping through the loaf of bread to get to one of the highly coveted square end pieces. Her father stopped her and asked, "do you expect any other human being to eat the food you have rejected as not fit for your consumption?" He then said those five slices of bread that she flicked through would be her dinner and/or breakfast and that no one else would eat that bread but her. In her reflection, he did this not to teach a lesson in obedience but one in having consideration for others.

Her father would also tell the kids stories at bedtime that came out of Ireland's history. Stories of legend and of political struggle. They were told, as she notes, "by an Irishman, with an Irishman's feelings." She remembers one of her first nursery rhymes being a poem about the English flag being found wherever there was 'blood and plunder.'

I often wonder about how much we have given over to technology when it comes to raising our kids. Not just time, but the underlying values of the creators of that tech. What's behind the stories and songs that our kids consume? Anything? Or is it just mindless entertainment? Maybe it's just teaching them to be a good consumers...

There's a value in understanding the history of things, including the people you admire. You can't separate who Devlin became with how she was raised and that's an important reminder for us as parents.