We all find ourselves in bubbles. These bubbles are good most of the time. They keep us safe, they keep us collected and understood. They give us meaning, they give us foundation to grow and risk and attempt things.
Our first bubble is usually our family.
I was born into a family of five that later turned into six. I was the second boy. I have four years between me and my older sister and six between me and my brother. Our bubble included a church community that my Dad led as the pastor. Our bubble included three schools, a few different sports communities, a neighbourhood that largely knew each others names, a cat and some bikes.
We had traditions. Like toast days (every tuesday and thursday Dad made us special toast) and desert day (before church we would eat something special and usually sweet) We had annual rhythms that included multiple church camps, a two week family holiday to the coast, school carnivals etc.
We had age dependent rules, like when we could colour our hair, or pierce our bodies. Our parents trusted our friends parents through meeting them, or hearing of them. And this trust was hard to break because I had a respect of my parents that was like a lock on my behaviour. This trust was also hard to break because we had been taught how to make space for people, but also how to leave spaces that weren’t great for us.
Our bubble has language that others wouldn’t always understand. We had quite an open policy on hospitality and attempting new things. But we also had quite a closed policy on talking about certain things, or going certain places without permission. There were also seasons of not being allowed to watch the simpsons, or reading certain books before mum had read them.
All of these things came from decisions our parents had made, or that the family just got used to out of repeated behaviour that were then harder to bring up.
This bubble is hard for me to get out of. I don’t want to get out of it, but as i have thought about it a little, even if i wanted to, this bubble makes up so much of who i am as a human. And as i have travelled amongst different cultures, i have been amazed at the times that my bubble has bumped heads with other peoples bubbles and it has been uncomfortable because what i was taught, and what was put in my bubble feels so much a part of me that when attacked, it feels like I am being attacked personally.
It takes concentrated effort to think around the issue of “my mum told me this, so it must be right” sometimes. But its a true reality that our familial culture, our original bubble, while being helpful to get us on our feet, can easily be wrong and disproven and this isn’t a bad thing. Especially if its disproval puts us on a path to a better life.