It’s been a while since I can say I felt peaceful or even calm.
Years in fact!
So what does the word ‘Peace’ actually mean. Well this is what I found. I particularly liked the second one as it feels like life has been like fighting a war!
“freedom from disturbance; tranquillity”
“a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended”
Today I took a moment. In this moment I looked at Miss C as she stood in the kitchen and her school friend who had stayed overnight, both with ear to ear smiles on their faces, the TV on in the background, the breeze coming through the door and both cats calmly asleep in the sun.
Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.
I even felt relaxed!
Not a care in the world for just a moment!
It was wonderful! An emotion that I had forgotten the feeling of.
In the turmoil of what has been my life for the past 6 years I would say, it was hard to ever say I experienced peace or had a chance to be ‘calm’.
The past six years encompassed an emotionally abusive relationship which I removed myself from, only to return to the same man after hearing the words ‘I have changed’.
To the family and criminal court system to fight for the right for my child to have peace. With the days of affidavits and lawyers and and endless money steam out of the bank seeming like it would never end.
One would think we or more I had been through enough!
No it wasn’t to be, a few months later a marriage breakdown… PHEW!
There is so much talk about resilience and grit in the media these days. Talk about how to make our kids stronger, able to cope and adaptable. To better prepare them for what is in front of them.
The questions on; how do we make them more resilient? what can we cram in to an already to full curriculum to help them be more resilient? What can we do? what activities can we include? What speakers can we get in?
Personally, it’s not about what we show them, what we tell them or who speaks to them. Often they have heard it all before. They tune out or even, as I see hundreds of teens do each year, they say, ‘I know all this, why do we have to listen to this again?’
For me, I believe, to truly help our kids be resilient we have to be there to support them when they go through the adventure called life. The events they experience day to day, night after night, week after week are what shape them to be strong individuals.
“I am strong, I am resilient and I believe I have grit! All because of what I have both done and experienced throughout my life. I am strong because I have survived and have amazing parents and family to thank for always being there, and coming on my adventure even when they could have chosen not to.
I am who I am because of them and what life has thrown at me! I am who I am because I chose to get back up even after failing many times!
(Sorry dad, I made you grey earlier than you probably would have been and mum for the sleepless nights filled with worry)”
We have to let our children make choices, and fail safely. For example let them spend their money on the theme park rides and then let them wonder why they did after the ride ended 30 seconds later. Don’t give them more money rather say, you made your choice and now you can’t go on another ride. Make them see the other side.
If they fall, help them up and then get them back on the bike or the horse or even back up the tree. Showing them it’s okay, they can overcome their fears and in this they become strong.
To many times as a teacher we now have to defend ourselves and our positions to over caring and smothering parents who want to fix everything for their child. Who always believe it is never their child’s fault their shirt got stained, their shoes broke or the other guys started the fight.
Jumping the gun in front or your kids teaches them nothing but how to manipulate and ensure that even if they were in the wrong they can tell you in such a way you are immediately on the defensive. This does not teach them to be honest or own up to their own behaviours. Neither does it allow them to learn. This will not give them or yourself peace.
I have watched as parents come in seething hoping for justice or an apology only to be shown footage that quietens and sometimes embarrasses them. I have watched parents deflate as they hear the real story or even as their child bursts into tears and tells them they lied, they made it all up and in fact it was their fault.
Kids are kids and they learn through us as role models. We have to remember this when we lose our tempers, when we talk about other people or even how we act just around the house. They learn from us.
So back to peace, resilience and grit. While I realise the past few years have been turmoil and at times I have shriveled up into a ball and tried to hide from the world.
I have survived and am stronger than ever. My daughter, has had an emotional roller coaster ride and she to has survived.
She has in fact been strong for me right when I needed her to be. She has shown me how mature and hyper aware kids are of their surroundings. Do not be fooled by your child’s age, they see and hear everything! Now she is experiencing peace!
This strength and understanding she has learnt from life in all its awesomeness and ugliness will only benefit her in the future.
I always wanted to cover her up and hide her away from what was going on but at the end of the day doing this would only be worse for her. One day she may find herself dealing with the same things or even supporting a friend as they do. I know she will be strong enough and have the knowledge to hold their hand through it or ask for help if she ever needed it.
She has seen that life can be unfair and also rewarding all at once.
Now it’s time for peace, it’s time for us to re group. Re focus and spend time working on us. Working on her growing up to be an even more amazing woman than she already is. For me it is time to look in the mirror at the person looking back and build her back up.
It’s time to be strong, to draw on the strength and resilience I have acquired throughout life and move forward.
Remember to bring up strong individuals we have to be willing to let them go.
Then you will achieve peace!