I imagine right now those of you who know about the world I have come from are thinking – how can she say OUR world is wrong? We don’t do that to our children!!
Okay. Fair. I will of course never try and say that the world I have come from is any better than yours. It is far worse and more hideous. However, I do occasionally have to sigh/smile in exasperation/wonder about some of the beliefs in this world. Apologies. But if this message below can get to everyone, I think that somehow the whole place would improve for the better…
I am on a lot of facebook groups and other social networking sites. I have quite a few friends who have children. I hear people nattering on buses, or in the street etc etc. And one thing has struck me more than anything:
The world seems to bring it’s children up in a way that prepares them in advance for a cruel and difficult world.
This, I understand. The world is hard. The world can be cruel. And to pre-prepare children will help them be armed against and ready for whatever badness the world will throw at them. It’s a method of protection, I realise.
However. Is the answer not to instead bring your children up in a way where they feel able to take risks, to do big things that are full of love and compassion…to share their compassion to counter the cruelties of the world? I think that maybe we’re getting it reversed… instead of teaching our children how to either keep their head low and safe, and focus on all potential risks…. we should teach our children to be aware of dangers, but that if they are strong with their kindness and compassion then they are actively improving the world.
Children are very suggestible. If they are being taught the world is cruel, they will be taught to see only black. If they are taught the world is mixed but one can empower themselves simply through love and compassion, then the world isn’t all black…and the child knows right from being small how they can actively seek to change the world for the better. If all children are taught this….then surely as all children grow up, their love and compassion that they will have learnt does “good” things (rather than them just ‘being there’) will be used skilfully to improve the world, and THEN the cruelties will be countered rather than hidden away from?
Why do I think this? Because that’s the only way I have ever got better. There was nobody to bring me up pre-prepared for a cruel world full of bullies and whatever else. The hardships of the real world I am learning about now, and the hardships of the other world I had to learn about in the most horrific ways. How did I counter it?
Not by keeping my head low, I can tell you. If I’d kept my head low I would have lost sight of the ultimate goal, and also would have been “giving permission” and “giving control” to the cruelties. By keeping my head high, and using love and compassion to help arm the other children, I was able to push down some of the abusers and escape.
In this world, the thing that has made fear, pain and sadness less of a blinding and immobilising part of life has been the kindness of compassion of my friends. It goes without saying that something *natural* such as kindness rather than something unnatural such as hate is therefore going to be more powerful.
Just a thought. If you bring your children up based on the idea the world is hard and can be cruel, then the world will remain this way. They will have learnt how to individually *cope* with it, rather than collectively *solve* it. If you bring your children up based on the idea of strength in numbers (rather than individual survival) and that compassion and love is powerful and changes things for the better, then the world will be changed for their better by the tools you equip them with *collectively*.
Our children have the potential to shift things. I have seen first hand the power of compassion in a group of children, and how they overcome the most evil people simply by their compassion and sympathy. If it can happen in that world….it can certainly happen in this one. As a result people feel less isolated and alone, as they are brought up to be a group working together. If I had told the children when they were bought to the ring “it’s mostly bad here and hideous things can happen so here’s how to keep yourself safe” then yes, they’d have stayed safer (maybe) but also would have actively been protecting themself rather than actively trying to shift the badness.
Similarly, if people tell children now that “the world is hard and difficult to get by in and there are bullies or money problems etc etc but this is how to protect yourself” then the child will grow up having learnt how to protect themself and get by in a harsh world, rather than learning how to alter the harshness so that everything improves. Rather than keep generations stuck on pause and just standing for all the crap currently, why not show them that the tools to change things for the better are not found through money or power….but rather simply through themselves?
I’m not saying don’t teach your child how to protect themselves. Of course that is needed. But maybe don’t teach them to look at how harsh the world is, but rather at how beautiful it can be when people use compassion etc correctly…that they can protect themselves from things by (X, Y and Z) when necessary, but the way to make it better is to work together with people and combat harshness through gentleness and compassion.
This isn’t wishy washy stuff. I know this stuff works – I witnessed it in a BRUTAL world. I also witnessed what happened if children weren’t taught this, and instead were taught how to be prepared for the cruelty of the world. Yes in both scenarios the children were hurt (not necessarily morseo in one compared to the other, either)…. but crucially the first scenario empowered the children, kept self-worth at least reasonable, and kept them fighting and laughing and working together and shifting things.
The other group of children grew trapped in fear, scared to ever speak for themselves, and just learnt to keep their heads down and protect their individual selves, rather than stand together and survive through compassion.
It works. It really does. There are *some* things which can be learnt from ring abuse…. and this is one of them.Try it. I dare you. Teach your children how to counter the harsh world TOGETHER, rather than survive it as individuals. You might find the world becomes a better place in the future…