I’ve looked at this picture for a long time and I’ve relived the emotions again and again. My heart stopped, I couldnt breathe and I barely managed to capture the evidence for future story telling.
You see, this picture was taken at a fair local to me about 4 days ago. But its not the picture that caused so much emotion for me, its what it represented.
My 3yo is up there…in one of them chairs. With a thin metal bar stopping her from falling to the ground. She begged me and her Dad to go on the ride. She had seen how high it went and she didnt care. She wasnt afraid at all. I could hear her squeals of delight as it went up and her smile was worth a million. I took the picture…to remind myself in the future that everything turned out ok.
It was the day after the London Bridge attacks. Whilst families like myself were going about our day, other families were torn to shreds upon learning that loved ones had died or had been injured in the barbaric event. These people had been out, having fun with friends or returning home from work after a long day. These were normal every day people doing normal every day things.
However the most remarkable thing about all of this was that just over a week before, there had been another attack in Manchester where more people had died, including a young girl of 8. It was remarkable in the sense that despite all this, the world didnt stop. People were angry, confused and upset but it didnt stop anyone from going back out there and sticking 2 fingers up.
I’ve seen posts after the attacks that discuss talking to children about the attacks, terrorism and death. They give advice on how to speak to your child about the things they have seen or heard on the news or in thier peer groups. Apprently its something we need to do in order to prepare our children.
I call complete bullshit on that. To me, telling children of whats going on in the world is daylight robbery of the one thing we are trying to provide our kids, an innocent childhood. I am very very aware of how lucky my children are to be growing up in a country that provides health services and education, where my kids can wake up and not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from or weather they are going to have to fight to survive another day. Why on Earth do we need to talk to children about the state of our world and make them worry for no reason? Why on Earth should our children have any anxiety about going on a bus or going to a concert just incase something happens?
Yes, the world is in tatters and innocent people are getting hurt. But this has been going on long before we ourselves were children. I grew up watching The Twin Towers collapse, I watched top members of Parliment crush our country into more debt and dispair, buses got blown up in London and a second Gulf War was created and yet not once do I ever remember being scared. Not once do I remember my parents sitting me down and explaining about all the bad stuff that was happening around us. We still went on planes, we still went to London for day trips and got on buses. Nothing changed.
Children deserve to feel safe and protected. They deserve to have fun without any worry. Those children that went to the concert in Manchester didnt have a clue of the horror that faced them. All they were thinking about was the fun they were going to have and the memories they would create. No one knows what is going to happen or what the future holds.
My 3yo looked at that ride and saw nothing but fun. She wasnt thinking about the potential danger, she didn’t think about the fear, she just knew she wanted to do it. This is how children should be living their lives. In complete innocence and without worry.
Its our job as adults to do the worrying and to fix what mistakes we made so our children dont grow up in a world where fear runs their life.
Do what you have been putting off. Skydive, climb a moutain, go for that drink with that guy, quit your job and go travelling. Live. Your. Life.
If we don’t, then what hope do our children have?