It was about 3am in the early hours of Sunday morning.
I woke up (probably needing to pee) and heard the rain falling in a steady downpour onto the sloping roof outside our bedroom window.
I love the rain.
It reminds me of Irish summer holidays in my Aunt’s caravan where it rained more than the sun shone and we would play endless games of pick up sticks, listening to it drumming on the thin roof above our heads.
I listened to the rain; mingled with the steady breathing of Ryan and Jack on either side of me, and Corey on a mattress on the floor.
My husband and eldest and youngest sons, all sleeping soundly; cocooned by the love and protection of our family bond.
And as I lay there, listening to rain and breath, my thoughts turned to the places in the world where mothers are lying in fear.
The places where men are beheading children and putting their heads on stakes in playgrounds.
The places where families are fleeing, mothers and fathers are terrified, and lives are being ripped apart.
And I realised again how truly blessed I am to have the opportunity to live the life that I do.
A life that has never known true fear.
A life where I get to keep my babies close to me every single day and night.
A life where I can sleep knowing that my children will never be ripped from me and beheaded in the street.
A life that is safe.
And before I drifted back to sleep I reaffirmed my commitment to help eradicate the world of violence by eradicating it in myself.
To remember that every act of ill intent towards another, whether in thought or action, is in fact, violence.
To remember that every time I commit an act of violence I am giving permission for it to exist in the world.
To continue on my path of peaceful, gentle parenting (no matter how hard, or how much resistance I face from well intentioned friends and family) for the sake of not only my own children, but for all children; everywhere.
When I am in a crowd of people, especially mothers, the way I choose to parent is very interesting and brings up a lot of questions.
People always want to know why I chose to go down this path.
The truth is that it was a journey that started many years ago, bringing me to this point.
But there was a particular incident that pushed me over the edge and propelled me into taking action.
Before Christmas I wanted to find out the boys’ thoughts on school before I made a decision about whether or not I would take them out.
I asked Corey my eldest what he liked about school and what he didn’t like.
He said he loved playing with his friends, but that he hated the actual school work. Kai said the same.
I asked them if they liked their teachers and they both said they did.
I asked if their teachers ever got angry and they both said they did.
So I probed a little deeper.
Corey went on to explain how his teacher got “really really angry” at a particular boy (who was obviously very playful and found it hard to be confined by the controlled environment of the classroom).
As he described his teacher’s “extreme anger” (which was using a stern tone to control the kids) his voice choked a little and he stopped talking, blinking rapidly.
I put my hand on his knee and said “That must’ve been really scary for you. Please don’t hold it in and cry if you need to.”
To my horror, he burst into gut wrenching, full body sobs, letting out all the pent up emotion he’d been holding onto throughout the year and finally finding release for his emotions. He cried for a full 15 minutes, until he literally ran out steam.
I felt so guilty I couldn’t breathe.
What kind of mother would send their precious, 8 year old, baby boy into an environment that he wasn’t emotionally capable of dealing with?
It was my job to protect him!
What on earth was I doing?
What could possibly make this kind of violence towards children, worthwhile?
In that moment I knew that protecting my innocent children from the violence of the world was worth more to me than any education ever would be.
I didn’t know what on earth I was going to do instead.
But I knew I would never again (knowingly) place them in an environment that used fear based control to achieve it’s goal.
In my opinion school sacrifices the human being for the education.
It makes education the most important value, over and above the human beings it seeks to educate.
If we fail to start to recognise this, as mothers and citizens of the world, nothing will ever change. We need to wake up and realise what’s really going on.
Would love to hear your thoughts and comments. All constructive debate is welcomed from both sides. But if you post a hateful comment, I’ll delete it.