We always want to show our children the best of the world, the kindness of the world, the beauty and positive, the love and compassion, the laughter and the passion.
And when the cruel realities of life show itself in any form, we try to cover their eyes, shield them from the pain. They are too young to experience this; we say… they’ll grow up too soon! And we cry for the pain the truth has hurt them with.
It’s our duty, as parents and caretakers, to build a metaphorical wall between our offspring and the nastier habits and practices of adult life, to protect them from the unkindness of reality as much as we can for as long as we can. But it’s proving increasingly difficult, even for the very well intentioned… Our children seem to be disappearing. They are physically present, but, to no fault of their own, the innocence of childhood seems to have been subsumed by a rush to adulthood.
But life is built on duality for the greater scheme and the equilibrium of forces. These opposite forces are complementary to balance each other out. Understanding an opposing counterpart helps us fully comprehend its value.
If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.
– Anthon St. Maarten, Divine Living
Without ugliness we wouldn’t fully understand beauty, without anger we wouldn’t appreciate calmness, without cruelty wouldn’t value kindness and without insanity we wouldn’t realise sanity … which eventuality leads to the grasping of the utmost duality: Life and Death.
However and although, I believe that in order to have deeper knowledge of life, one must start by understanding and accepting the essential reality of duality in every aspect of life including our emotions, we still try to shelter our kids from the sad and brutal side of the coin. We try to delay their knowledge of such as much as possible.
As parents, it also our job to prepare our children for life. To ensure that they are knowledgeable about themselves and the world, aware of the areas that need improving and feel empowered to make those changes. There also might be something pretty off about thinking that educating a child about their own bodies or feelings or the world around them will somehow despoil them.
There is a point where ‘innocence’ is no longer a virtue. Where these shielding walls we build, need to fall down brick by brick, and for them to learn self-awareness, social responsibility, equality and fairness, to start learning that there is good and bad in the world, that there do exist people who are cruel and angry and abusive, that people leave and people die.
And it is true, with every disappointment they face and every exposure to the bitter realities of life around them, their innocence does get scratched… that’s how people grow smarter and wiser, by understanding that’s it’s not all pink and dandy… and by learning how to deal with it.
And I do want my kids to be informed about and comfortable with their own bodies and feelings and learn how to deal with whatever emotion that hits them and whatever hardship they face in a wise and sensible manner. I want my children to understand conflict and learn how to deal with it. I want my children to be exposed… not unconditionally sheltered, for this is life…
However, that doesn’t negate the fact that we feel guilty when they see it! Feel shame that we have exposed them too fast or too soon, and made them grow faster than we would like them to.
But when? How?
Will early knowledge of the unfairness of life taint a child in irreparable ways?
So to my children, who’s reality got them exposed to traumas very early on in life… I want to apologise to them for that:
I want to apologise that you saw and heard abuse from and to the closest people in your lives at a time when you should have only seen kindness and compassion and tolerance…
I’m sorry for my choice to stay as long as I did… for you to see what you saw…or hear what you heard…
I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to walk out when I should have, before you were old enough to see brutality and weakness from you role models and who knows what damage that has caused…
I’m sorry you haven’t seen much love between your parents to grasp it and know it… We did love each other one day and you were made out of that love…
I’m sorry that you didn’t experience a healthy happy loving relationship to learn from and one day mimic; even my own parents are not together.
I’m sorry we weren’t nicer to each other, we should have tried harder.
And I’m sorry that you have to be swung between us, whenever we see fit, for you to experience both of us, I too wish you stayed in home with both parents together so you didn’t have to do this. I’ve lived this and I never wished it for you.
I want to apologise for not being happy around you as much as I should have and that I’ve been too drained to work or take care of myself and make you proud of me as much as I wanted… I am still torn between leaving you and staying to watch and help you grow…
I’m sorry I had you despite not having the support system to help me raise you, I should have calculated that better.
I’m sorry that I’m not in the mood to play like I would like to, nor do I know how to gain the energy to be around you… you’re both amazing, i’m just so tired.
I’m sorry that you had to see me cry or scream or down and that I’m depressed and edgy these days… it’s not about you, but it unintentionally directs towards you.
I’m sorry in advance for any long-term consequences this phase might have on your lives, I’ll try my best to make it up to you; my intention is to protect you not to hurt you.
I’m sorry if anything made you feel just a drop of guilt, it’s not your fault it’s ours.
I’m sorry if this creates any burden of any kind on you… it’s not your weight to carry.
I’m sorry if this may seam like a selfish thing to do, but I promise you, I’m doing it for you… you deserve a non-toxic environment, you deserve a relief from that stress.
And most importantly, I’m sorry I haven’t protected you innocence just a tad longer
I wish I could spare you of all of this… but it is your reality and I will do everything I can to be there for you through it.
I know that them coming out stable and sane and centred will be despite of the circumstances not because of them… and that somehow they have learnt to understand some of the ugly sides of life, but it hurts so see them understanding it sooner than they should have.