This post was written on June 16, 2018.
It is 2018 and the Trump Administration is separating families of asylum seekers. Not only that, but the children are being held in cages. This is such an immensely terrible tragedy that I cannot believe it is happening. Children are being torn from their families and traumatized. I thought, I hoped, we had learned to never, never do this again. But it is happening again in the 2018 version. The hurt from this will last for generations to come.
I am grateful to be Canadian. I am grateful that my country is not doing this. I am grateful that my family is together. I am grateful that my family has never had reason to leave our home and seek asylum. I am grateful that my country is not at war.
And I hurt. I hurt for all the families who have been torn apart through the current horrific acts. I hurt for all the Indigenous families who were torn apart due to residential schools. I hurt for all the families who don’t experience a safe place to live their lives.
I am so aware that my current safety, financial stability, family wholeness and peace in my life are based on many, many factors – many of which are factors that have not much to do with me and so much to do with how I happened to be born into this world.
So what do I do? What do all of us do? Sometimes, I feel dizzy at the two realities that can feel so contradictory. I have a role as a parent to create a safe, nurturing, peaceful home and to raise thoughtful, emotionally-healthy children, and to enjoy life and be grateful for what I have. And I also have a role to do whatever I can in this world to work to bridge the gap of the inconsistencies and unfairness.
Where does that leave me? My kids are still young, and I want them to grow up feeling safe and free. So we don’t talk about world news too much just yet. But from time to time, we do have conversations with them about what is happening in the world, about injustices, and unfairness. I find that most of these conversations boil down to the simple idea that some people feel like certain people are more important than other people. My 7-year-old son says with full faith and full innocence, “But why would they think that? Everyone is just as important as everyone else.” It makes so much sense when we boil it down to that fact.
Kent Hoffman, a psychotherapist and one of the founders of Circle of Security has a TedX Talk on what he has learned in his career. He sums it up in nine words: “Every person we will ever meet has infinite worth.” He goes on to say, “I would now define evil as the belief that some people are worth more than other people.”
You can find the short version of his TedX Talk here:
So what can I do? I commit to:
*continuing to educate myself about trauma-informed practice so that I am aware of the consequences of these actions and I treat each person with the care they deserve
*continuing to learn how to help children and families heal from past traumas
*teaching my children that every person they will ever meet has infinite worth
*teaching my children how grateful we are to live in a safe place – and that those who didn’t happen to be born into a safe space deserve safety, love, dignity and hope just as much as we do.
What do you do? I would love to hear from you!