The idea that we’re asking our young people to go out in the world completely alone and call themselves independent is crazy. ~ Paul Griffey, quoted in The Body Keeps The Score1, p. 341

We do this every year. We send a new graduating class into the world with a story that they have to go now prove themselves. They need to pull their weight, to be independent. Sure, we encourage friendship and some forms of community, but what about obligation? What about responsibility? Not simply for, but to?

We need to teach them how to be interdependent, which means teaching them to have relationships. ~ Paul Griffey

The young people Griffey is talking about are foster kids who have matured out of the system. They generally come from chaotic and traumatic backgrounds, and need real support in forming the most basic relationships. But I’d argue that he’s taking about all of us. The kinds of relationships that allow for interdependence are deep, nirturing, and vulnerable. They are ones in which we feel an obligation. They are the ones that make life truly worth it.

This framing of interdependence is, to me, at the core of the healing journey we are all on together. We can’t get there from here. And we can’t get there alone. To be interdependent is to need one another.

And need one another, we do.

  1. by Bessel Van der Kolk, MD

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