Last Wednesday we all experienced yet another attack on our fragile world. A world where we all strive for the greater good, working for ours, and our loved ones safe future. We make sacrifices; day after day. Go without, miss out on things, all got the bigger picture. How many times have you walked down the street and failed to appreciate the beauty of life? How many times have you rushed your children out of the door, snapped at their idiosyncrasies, and failed to notice their smile? I’m guilty. Guilty of missing stuff because I’m selfishly wrapped up in my own world of running a house and work. I think if Wednesday tells us anything, it’s to time time to appreciate our world which surrounds us.
Now, I’m not unique in this and suspect many of your experiences are very similar to mine. Living, as we now do, in an instant news world, I received the first alert at 2.40pm. Initially, I hoped it was just a failed attempt. Reading ‘gun shots heard near Westminster’, I felt anxious, but felt safe in the knowledge that security was high in that area. It wasn’t until I started to walk home, I started to realise what was unfolding; my phone vibrated constantly but I couldn’t look. Mind reeling off my friends in London, praying they were safe and out of harms way. Head down walk on, there was nothing I could do. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings of redundancy and fear. I just couldn’t bear to contemplate what was happening in the city.
We can’t have been the only family crowding around the iPad, awaiting updates, hoping that it would all be ok. Our children watched in disbelief as events unfolded in a place we have spent many a happy day. Then the real story was pulled from the confused state of our capital. As a parent, I lurched from placating and reassuring the children, to biting back bitter tears of anger, frustration, and ultimately sadness. Mind trying to fathom and crying with patriotic pride at our police and the courage of all those in London.
Many were quick to band about their opinions. Using it as a platform to air prejudices. Never once did I apportion blame on anyone other than the ‘extremist’ who believed he was doing it for the ‘greater good’. He is in a minority (later we learnt he acted alone). Hatred, we know, is born from ignorance. ‘Yes’, I told the children ‘we will go on our annual trip to London’. Why not? You see the defiant me will not give in to someone coined as a ‘terrorist’ as the very word suggests ‘terror’, and I for one have brought my children up to be brave. That we should never be afraid of the dark, monsters and ghosts. Therefore, why should we let ‘extremists’ meaning ‘a person with extreme political or religious views’, (as if any God would want to create hurt and destruction on such a scale) to stop us from living our lives to the fullest?
At this point I feel the need to apologise for my tone this week. You see, I didn’t want to bring the mood down, but I couldn’t really talk about anything other than the latest terror attacks. As much as we are being blessed with the first bursts of spring and we are spoiling those closest to us this Mother’s Day, it seems wrong to do any other. Or does it? I for one feel we need to stick our fingers up and embrace the brilliance that is life. So let’s turn this whole thing around and learn to consciously count our blessings…
Now, I do understand how difficult this can be; the daily grind can be just that, Monday mornings, are to me, the worst perpetrator of such crimes. Life is hard enough. So why should we allow those who commit cruel and heartless crimes on our world take sheer joy from our misery? Instead we should rise up. We should dissolve hatred and defy their ideology of causing deep divides in society and actually begin to love each other. You see, that’s what they want, division. And, after watching a documentary on white supremacy in the UK, could it be that they are getting what they want? A race war? For us to kill each other so as to save them a job? It’s like 1937, Mosley, black shirts, Hitler sympathisers. Look how that unfolded…
These small minorities (yes, a small group not an entire religion or race) threaten the very equilibrium of our beautiful world. How can anyone say, hand on heart, that they don’t want to live in harmony? How can anyone want to live in a constant fight? Conflict fuelling every action? It must be a very cold and uncertain world for those who do.
I am a fixer. I have to find a way to make things good in my immediate world. This is because, a) I’ve neither the power nor influence of Sir Bob, and, b) been offered automatic entry into Number 10 (of blinking love her job). Therefore, I’ve had to find my own solution. Two simple words.
Simple, but inspired by the quotation on my classroom wall. (It’s the one I often turn to when making a point)
‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’.
This is something I often refer to on a daily basis. Children, you see, can often be cruel. It doesn’t matter how hard we work to bring them up, they are just trying to make sense of the world in the best way possible. Our job, as adults, is to guide and support them through the uncertainty of youth. Impart sensible and impartial advice. With the role of parent, providing unconditional and eternal love. You see, for this cruel world to change, we need to show and promote a mutual respect for all. The quotation is especially true when you consider what many children have to contend with. Vicious, off the cuff, taunts and comments can cut deep, when actually the culprit has no idea of the significance of the comment they made. They, very often, are copying the way their role models deal with life.
Children learn from their elders. When was the last time you said something you shouldn’t? Made a flippant comment and then realised that it was undignified and uncalled for? I’ll be honest, I have. Its something I’m not proud of, however, it’s something I am consciously trying to rectify as the years gallop away. I particularly hold the aforementioned quote close as I am a sensitive soul who battles daily. This means I live in a constant state of thinking no one likes me! (Him reckons that I will think this to my dying day). That’s my paranoid hang up…
The question is ‘How do we stop the bastards getting us down?’
There’s many ways. Being kind is a massive start. Along with appreciating the air we breathe, food we eat, hands we hold. My morning walk summed it up nicely. Little E and I walked the Rosie dog and met many a smiley person on the way. Brilliant sunshine, cloudless blue skies and the sunlight was shimmering across the shoreline this morning. Any warmer and I could have been in Greece (just don’t look at the colour of the sea). ‘Morning’, ‘what a wonderful day!’ and friendly doggies wanting some sniffy action with the local celebrity that R has become.
‘Mummy do you know these people?’
‘Ha! No, not one’. You see they were just people enjoying life. Being pleasant. Young, old, black, white, rich, poor, (and that’s just the canines…) they were just people simply being. Kind words cost nothing. Embracing life. What a brilliant way to approach those who threaten our free world – just being. I can’t think of a better way to fight back from my little corner of the world; teaching my children to Be Kind. After all, the biggest way to fight war is with intelligence, common sense and a well thought out strategy, They want to breed hatred. Let’s not let them win. Our strategy should be: Enjoy life. Be grateful and most of all ‘Be Kind’
So on that note. Enjoy the beautiful sunshine and Happy Mother’s Day you all xxxx