The world is a scary place. Xenophobia has reared its ugly head again and images and videos of burning humans fill our social media platforms. Please read that again, yes I said burning humans. Feels uncomfortable right? Further discomfort comes from reading about UCT university students raped and murdered at the post office I frequented often during my time at UCT, raped 80 year olds that remind me of my grandmother and kidnapped or murdered kids my kids age.
In a world so filled with uncertainty it demands that we are certain about the messages we give our children.
That strangers are not the problem, but strange people are. That when something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. That they need to be observant ( minus the excessive detailed gore) so they learn the lessons, and do not become one.
I will not tell them actual details or give them examples. I will not fill them with fear or panic. I will not tell them that bad things are happening and that people are losing their lives at the hands of those who feel they have lost theirs.
Now don’t get me wrong, these are not easy conversations. These will be uncomfortable moments because of what I know and what I have seen, but that is my burden, not theirs.
I will solider on and continue to have those uncomfortable conversations because I need to, because education means they are more aware, more awake, more in tune with reality.
What does makes me uncomfortable though is that in other areas of their lives, the entire point of awareness is being pushed aside because of fear. Schools are not observing the day of solidarity (wearing black tomorrow) because they want kids to be sheltered, siloed. They are afraid to expose them without realizing that they are already exposed. They are forgetting that the school system sits in the middle of the chaos. They are missing the point – details are not important when speaking to kids, the message is.
And charging kids for a scheduled civvies day that can easily be moved, instead of allowing a free day of expression for all is spreading a totally different message. One that is not inclusive, relevant or healthy.
Of course, I pray for the day when we can walk the streets without fear. Until then I will not bubble wrap my kids if they ask my a question about what they see, hear or experience. I see too much as a counsellor, I hear too much as a mum to not make them aware.
I teach my daughter and son that the reason we will wear black tomorrow is to stand together as a nation for what is right. Tomorrow my family will wear black because we will not ignore what is happening to our people. And because my uncomfortableness is not as important as the message of solidarity.
Love and light