- Where the wave of moonlight glosses
- The dim gray sands with light,
- Far off by furthest Rosses
- We foot it all the night,
- Weaving olden dances
- Mingling hands and mingling glances
- Till the moon has taken flight;
- To and fro we leap
- And chase the frothy bubbles,
- While the world is full of troubles
- And is anxious in its sleep.
- Come away, O human child!
- To the waters and the wild
- With a faery, hand in hand,
- For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
~WB Yeats, excerpted from The Stolen Child
I think most of us shelter our children from knowledge of terrible things, and I believe it's important to allow them to grow without the psychological stress that is sparked by the day-to-day news. I used to keep the radio off in the car when mine were younger - now that they're 9 and 12 I just turn off gruesome details, as much for myself as for them. But they are keenly aware of the many pending global disasters, as are most of their friends. Every day we hear of more studies: Mass Global Extinction. Social Collapse. Barren Oceans. World War. Radiation. Food Shortages. Climate Change. My kids know that their lives will be directly effected be these terrors, and it makes them sad. I try to talk about these things with them in a positive light: maybe we can be a part of humanity overcoming these changes! But my words are a thin veil over my obvious lack of certainty.
So I'm honest. We talk about pretty much everything that comes up, from rape to murder to suicide, mental illness, the end of the world, sexual exploitation, aliens and corporate greed. Sometimes they call me out on my purchasing and transportation choices, and I'm glad to have someone to discuss them with. If we weren't having these discussions, they'd still see me making choices; they'd still be influenced by media and their social circle, but they wouldn't have as many opportunities to consciously consider and discuss those things with adults. I truly believe that this would leave them much more vulnerable, in the long run, to corporate and political media campaigns, and I don't like that option.
|Apocalypse in Pieces. Acrylic, oil and sharpie on reclaimed B.C. Binning panels.|
We went to see the Lego Movie in the park the other day with a large number of other families from our community. It was a little bit predictable, and I can't deny having many less-than-awesome thoughts about Lego and corporate control of our children's minds, but... Everything was awesome! I spent more time playing with my beloved friend's 1-year-old than I did watching the movie. Bats were eating mosquitoes; children were wandering comfortably between the snuggled families, sharing bags of popcorn. The full moon was pressing up the clouds from behind the trees in the east. Stars were appearing - and yes, of course I wished on one! Right there in the middle of the crowd of people I love and people I don't know at all. Love was everywhere. And sweet William looked at the moths in the projector beam and wistfully exclaimed "Look! Fireflies!" And everything was awesome.
I can't hide life's miseries from my children, but I can't handle being miserable all the time, either, so I am trying my best to pass on an ability to enjoy everything we have.
On the way home in the car, we were talking about the End of the World. And we agreed that if we knew today was our last day, we would make it wonderful. Well - we ARE going to die. It could be in one year, ten years, 50 years or 100 years. Death is certain. And we're going to do everything we can to make whatever time we have wonderful.
...and on a side note, as I'm finishing this post, we're having a truly awesome thunder storm. There's a lot of shouting going on as we and the kids (who are in their beds on opposite sides of the house) estimate the distance of each strike over the sound of pelting rain on the tarp over our house. This is awesome. :-)