The act of caring may seem like a simple notion – but many choose to reject caring about certain life changing political processes.
When I say ‘care’ I don’t mean only healthcare childcare and caring for the elderly.
I don’t mean only finding a babysitter on a website called Care.com.
I mean as Berenice Fisher and I defined it some time ago ‘in the most general sense care is a species activity that includes everything we do to maintain – continue and repair our world so that we may live in it as well as possible’.
That world includes our bodies – ourselves and our environment – all of which we seek to interweave in a complex life-sustaining web’.
Usually when people hear this definition they are a little stunned.
It is so broad – it seems as if almost everything we do touches upon care.
This is true: care shows up everywhere in our lives.
Now we don’t usually think of care on this broad and most general level.
Particular care practices — for example performing brain surgery – teaching middle school – detailing a car — all have different – defining elements.
What they have in common though is an effort to keep their corners of the world going by doing laundry – planning the financial support of an intellectually disabled adult – preparing children’s lunches and so forth.
Care is about meeting needs and it is always relational: the skinned knee of a child who fell off his bike isn’t only about scrapes and germs – it is also about creating the conditions for him to feel safe in the world.
Not everyone agrees on the best ways to give or receive care.