beware: though it is not my intention, I realize the content of this post may offend you
I see it now.. More than ever before. I don't know that I really ever saw it clearly before … honestly I don't remember... I feel like a veil has been lifted, a curtain drawn, and I can see it in peoples eyes, in their mannerisms, hear it in their words and see it in their choices.
People are fearful. At least many, many people in the circles I run in. The economy has shifted, and times are hard. I have friends in many income levels, but the fear I see is the same.
Their fearlessness has dissolved, and with it, for many of them, dissolved their ability to really LISTEN to one another. Talking over one another, more cliquishness, segregation, alienation like I haven't seen since Breakfast Club… Listening is like a great superpower. But when you loose it, well, things can get ugly, and no one likes an ugly Super Hero.
When mommies, every day, mommies, live in constant fear, they develop something a little LIKE, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They live under constant daily stresses that are above and beyond anything any other generation has endured… well except those living under actual wars and famine. These mama's are unaware of all of their fears and stresses, THEY are, most of them, in total denial. From dealing with special needs kids in staggering numbers…to deal with dealing with divorce, abandonment issues, unemployment, serious health related issues, and real, honest to goodness alienation, not mention the intense need in our culture to compare and compete over literally everything…. there are lots of reasons for mothers in America to be stressed out today….
What shocks me… To top all this off, is the fear. Fear , that they are not seeing in themselves when they look into their mirrors each morning. Perhaps … well… perhaps they do, on mornings they feel, particularly honest, and raw, and broken. But rushing, and pride are all together too much a part of our culture, and these Mama's might not have the time for raw, or real. We must after all, press on.
We are as a sex, afraid of, it would seem … everything… Not just the things the media TELLS us we are afraid of either.. They only tell us about how we are so afraid of how we look, about aging, about our weight, about our sex lives, or lack there of…. blah blah blah.. they NEVER go deeper.
Afraid of getting a job, keeping a job, what people at work, or church, or in their own families might think if they really KNEW what was happening in their own homes...Many are afraid of living in this community, not that one…
If the blood work comes back saying your child MAY have down syndrome, and you feel afraid of raising that child, you can just.. "terminate" said pregnancy. Do you? Don't you? Can you really?Because that is how our culture is, but could YOU do it?
If a teen age girl gets pregnant and she is afraid of raising her child… does she "terminate" her pregnancy… because the "fear" for carrying to term for adoption…What if it were me? What if it were MY daughter? or my son's girlfriend… ?
We, speaking of our culture at large, would even rather a child of rape be "terminated", IF the mother so chooses, based on her "fear of how she MAY or may not feel during the pregnancy"… when not even the father would be "terminated" if prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law… Would I support MY daughter if SHE were afraid of having someone else live in her womb?
If your genetic chance of cancer is above a certain percentage, just remove said ovaries, or breasts…That's what was in the news THIS week… You are afraid of dying of a brain tumor, much better to commit suicide, and die in a way you're comfortable with, because goodness knows, we should, none of us EVER be afraid?
fear… fear... fear…
NOW, maybe it's not my place to say these are right or wrong here on this post, I am quite sure that some of my personal opinions have seeped through, inadvertently . I won't even ever say that I sit in a place of judgment over anyone who has EVER had to make these choices, or had to face these challenges… They are REAL challenges, painful challenges, frightening and horrible. … These decisions, these very huge, life giving, life taking, life altering decisions, are being made out of fear. That, is my only point today. FEAR seems to be ruling our generation…
I am part of an interesting little culture… Perhaps YOU are not a part of such a culture, perhaps you are in a different subculture. Mine is a bit unique… and it touches several other subcultures, just by the nature of ME being me… I would be interested in knowing, if what I see, is similar to what you see.
Way way back in 2001 we began researching home education. We didn't start actually doing anything about it, till we yanked out our then kindergartner out of school that following January. We were part of a revolution. NOT a rebellion. We weren't angry at anyone, we weren't "anti-public schoolers" or anything like that.. We also weren't arrogant and of the mindset that we could do EVERYTHING that the public school was doing only better. No, that surely was never ME. We thought, we could do it differently… Reach our children in different ways, educate on a different path, inspire, enlighten, open up the world to them. The tragedy in New York had just happened, a breast cancer scare for me just happened, and I didn't want life to just "happen" for our family.. I wanted to embrace life, know my kids, share with them, see the world with them, teach them everything I could, because life is a gift, and it's days, are unknown.
Being diagnosed with a brain tumor, thankfully a cancer free tumor, and a pretty tame one at that, was still a shock. It was also a diagnoses that brought me back to that place, and made me look at my own life and how I am doing.. in MY life goals… In my little niche of my universe…
Well, we've seen a lot of the United States, and some of Europe, clearly not as much as I would like.. but quite a lot. It's given us friends all over, friends and expats that we keep in touch with, a pulse on places in the world that are dear to us, and some, we'd only ever seen on maps, because some of our dear friends have moved since we'd met them.
We really have LIVED, experienced health crises, walked each of my parents down the long road of cancer and seen them off to their cross overs… also suffered the loss of my husbands father. Suffering and loss, and grief, special needs, mental health issues, major dietary needs, the list of things that we have dealt with and continue to deal this on a daily basis, is pretty staggering.
Each of those issues, brings a "sub culture" with it. Does that make sense? If I were BACK in high school in the 1980's … it would mean … a different crowd, or clique….
each and every health care issue is a separate crowd
special needs, Lyme, brain tumor, PANDAS… etc, etc, etc….
dietary issues, grief issues, homeschooling, public school crowd, Montessori school crowd...ages of children,, Essential Oil/herbalism crowd….
the list goes on and on and on.. really, my life is
some of the people in some of the groups, overlap.. but in so many I find fear…
Mama's feel afraid they aren't doing it all, being it all, knowing it all, giving their children everything. And while, on some level, that sounds like what I want to do for my kids… It's not. I don't want to GIVE my children everything… I want to DO life with my kids. I can't BE Jesus for my kids… sometimes we need to remind ourselves and each other that.
Having battled Moriarty for a little while means I was home… alone, a LOT lately… so when I am out people want to know all sorts of little things… but once we get over the "all about ME" phase, I listen…
I told Rob last night. I feel so alone. I didn't know how alone I was till recently. I used to be surrounded by visionaries like myself.. People who could see the opportunities that home education opened up for their children. Who could see that the jobs that their children would probably have, probably didn't even exist yet, and who knew, like I do, that it was our job, to keep the world open for them…. That too much conformity too early, too much structure too early in their development rooted out self discovery, exploration and creativity.
They are afraid of not socializing "enough"; not doing "this" curriculum, or "that" curriculum.
It's no better amongst the schooling mommies. They are just as fearful. Afraid of their child not testing well, or getting the services they need, or well, the list is pretty endless.. Draw anxiety all over their faces. Everyone wants THEIR kid to have the perfect childhood. Maybe they're having marriage problems, then there is the FEAR, that their child will find out, and a lot of effort goes into hiding those problems. The list of fears, holding mothers hostage is very disturbing. And the Idol of "perfect" needs to be shattered so we can all breath again.
As a parent of a special needs child, I can tell you there are ALL sorts of fears relating to special needs.. Am I doing enough therapies. What if we did this one, or added on that one. What if we bought this and that too? Maybe if we just.. Perhaps THIS medicine might help, or that herb, or this probiotic ? With some special needs, especially when you are still in the diagnostic phase, or when your child has layers of issues, there are just so many, "what IF's".. and "MAYBE if we just…", you can loose yourself, your family, your time and literally your entire savings, to these amazing "what if's" only to discover… absolutely NO change in your child… what so ever…. Learning to not make decisions based on fear, and believe me, false hopes ARE really fear in disguise; is one the most important things a special needs parent can do for their marriage and family…
I have even met parents who hide death. YES, all together are hiding death. A bird died on the street and ALL the children were out side investigating this death. Was it a blue jay? Was it a freak accident? Was it a raccoon? Why did this poor birdy die? WELL… This one mother actually had a totally meltdown, telling all the children the bird was napping, sent her child in, and didn't let that child out for 2 days. Not until, she figured the chatter about death was over. FEAR….
We all have fear. The question is. Will you let it control you? Does it consume you. Do your children get to walk to the park with out you hovering, at a reasonable age? Do you let them ride their bikes around the block, or are you gripped with fear?
The Bible talks about Fear 365 times.. Seriously! God does NOT want you to be THIS anxious. Trust in the LORD… Be honest with yourself about your fears. Are they rational, or irrational. Are there steps you can take today to lesson your gripping fears? If you aren't sure, if you need ideas, talk with a trusted friend, wise counsel. One clear sign of fear is a hyper need to control… control people, things, well, anything and everything. Remember we are never REALLY in control of anything, except hopefully ourselves.
Our job, as fearless Mommies, and Daddies, is to teach our children self control, and to practice it as best as we are able. To Trust God, and teach our kids to TRUST God… but not control them, and make them as afraid as we have been.. How can you live in the grace and freedom you so long for? What are some practical things you can do today to start parenting in freedom?
First and foremost, pray everyday! Can you buy an indestructible whistle for each of your children to wear around their necks, JUST in case? Whilst cell phones are one thing, good old fashioned walkie talkies are great for just going to a park or riding a bike, would that EASE your fears.. Reading courageous articles from Harvard, MIT, and other brilliant places has kept me encouraged to remain fearless in our pursuit of the kind of education we feel called to. I read scripture to be encouraged… I memorize courageous passages and recite them to myself and to my kiddo's !
I will now, and am forever ON the hunt for fearless friends… and humble ones, who see fear in the mirror, and are willing, and eager to wipe it off like yesterdays mascara… How do I see your fear so well.. how do I know? as the old saying goes on playgrounds everywhere… "It takes one.. to KNOW one…" because every now and then.. I wake up and see fear on MY face when I look in the mirror … and that's what I do… I wipe it off.. and spend the next day…. or week.. shattering the strong holds I have allowed it to make in my life…
Be bold, be fearless, walk with God… let's be part of the Mommy Revolution
(Daddy's you can join too)