Again reading from The Art of Non-Conformity (link in yesterday’s post):

Gatekeeper, n. 1. A person or group with a vested interest in limiting the choices of other people. 2. An obstacle that must be overcome to achieve unconventional success.

Gatekeepers are especially effective at telling you which choices you have, thus giving you the illusion of freedom while simultaneously blocking access to what really matters. (p54)

It is very easy as a parent to fall into gatekeeping.
Sometimes we limit our children’s choices truly believing that it is best for their safety and well-being. Sometimes it is.

Often, though (and I am speaking of my own imperfections) we gatekeep because we are simply too tired to allow or even tolerate the unconventional.


Gatekeeping is all about a belief in a ‘zero sum game’ — that there have to be winners and losers. The idea that if we do not zealously guard that which we have it will be gone.

So I must endeavor, as the mama to these curious children, to NOT tell them that they can choose between A or B.

And then I have to have the courage, energy, imagination and lack-of-apathy to follow them wherever they would like to lead.