The other day I was watching one of the older and more experienced teachers deal with several 3-year-olds with practiced skill. It occurred to me that the skill of knowing what children are likely to do, how to respond to them in groups, and generally how to work with groups of children has analogues to poly relationship skills.
We, as teachers, can tell a lot about parenting tendencies by watching their children. And it is clear that some parents surely are taking their responsibility with more or less…let’s call it wisdom. And I imagine that many parents might make different decisions if they had more experience with children.
Its not unlike us more experienced polyamorous people watching younger and less experienced people in relationships (whether they are learning about polyamory or are monogamous). We see mistakes, or the seeds of mistakes, arise. If only they had more experience! (And if only we could have the experience we will have, but have it now). We always have more to learn.
I have identified previously the fact that maintaining multiple relationships simultaneously forces you to become better at communicating, dealing with interpersonal and psychological problems, etc. Well, in many ways working in childcare is similar in that it shows you many ways children can behave, and how groups of them illuminates their character as they learn about themselves and the world.
Just like polyamory.
Its hard to hide your inner demons and imperfections in the more difficult circumstances of your partners and their partners interacting in ways that may irk you or make you uncomfortable. And spending a whole day (or weeks!), through garious changes in mood and environment, with children is similarly illuminating.
So, people who have children surely know a lot about their own offspring (hopefully, anyway). But to understand children in general takes experience with groups of them, especially if they all have different home lives from which they draw their worldviews. Similarly, people with one partner know a lot about how to maintain a relationship with that person (again, hopefully). But to be good at relationships, that either requires having had many relationships either serially or in parallel. I have had both.
And, to tie this to religion, having more experience with different ideas about the universe and the supernatural leads you to a perspective where you are able to see the nature of religion and how it interacts with our psychology and society. Knowing more about different religions leads you to start seeing what makes them all-to-human enterprises, rather than divine.
Inexperience leads to perochial perspectives. Diversity in experience leads to a broadening of perspectives. My academic background in religion, culture, and philosophy has lead me to the broader perspective that religion is largely unjustified and harmful. My experience with my own desires and with relationship leads me to the conclusion that monogamy, at least as a natural and default relationship structure, is a deception and a lie of tradition.